POOR CAN’T AFFORD ANOTHER LOCKDOWN (genre:realistic fiction)

By Neel Anil Panicker


Vegetable vendor stared stupefyingly at the TV screen as the headlines, in blazing red, half leapt at him.

The unlettered 37 year old street hawker from distant Firizodabad had been selling vegetables all his adult life on the streets of Dadar, the vegetable hub in Central Mimbai, also the epicentre of the latest wave of eye pandemic.

The man, his eyes crestfallen, turned around and looked askance at his wife, and their three  children, the youngest barely a year old.

A stab of pain shot through his veins, and lodged somewhere around his chest

The poor man winced, his hollowed eyes torching with pain, clothed in fear.

The man who for the past three decades (he started life as a beggar boy on the mean streets of Mumbai) had struggled, and was still struggling to keep body and soul together, 
slogging 15 hours a day every single day, all to ensure that his wife and children didn’t get to sleep on an empty stomach, cried, inwardly.
The tears had long gone dry.
None escaped his eyes, none were left.

He simply closed his eyes, and offered a silent prayer to Bhole Shambhunath.

His plea was simple: Oh God, no more lockdown. One more day indoors, one more day with no business, and all he was left with was to end his and dear ones’ sorry existence.

When he opened his eyes, his wife asked, “What will be do if there is another lockdown”?

It was a rhetorical question.
Both knew the answer to that.

#neelanilpanicker #flash #fiction #shortstory


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