Hunger

His eyes glistened – though it would have been difficult to say whether it was a glimmer of hope or shimmer of wetness – as he crouched behind the tree trunk, focused on the activity of the Samaritan who had just opened a packet of Tiger biscuits and was emptying the contents onto the pavement. At that very instance on the opposing side of the road, eyeing the food longingly, were three salivating stray dogs evidently in wait of this, their daily meal. His heartbeats quickened a bit now as he had never attempted such a thing in all of his nine years. He wiped his grubby hands on the back of his slightly less soiled frayed shorts in readiness for his next step. The Samaritan had moved on, and just as the dogs began zeroing in on their meal, he raised himself up resolutely and broke into a sprint, making straight for the dogs. The dogs, momentarily stunned by this unexpected assault, took a few hesitant steps backwards which was enough for him to scoop up the biscuits in his scrawny palms in one fair motion. Clutching the loot in two tightly shut fists he scampered towards the alley between the ramshackle chawls down the street. Stumbling to a halt as he turned the corner of the alley, panting from the effort, he kneeled down and extended his bony hand, fist open, palm outstretched, towards a diminutive figure huddled there. The little girl stood up awkwardly, wiping her tear-streaked face with one hand, the other hand clutching a tattered rag doll, hope evident in her large, dark, brown eyes. The hope turned into delight and two tiny stained hands with faded plastic bangles reached out and grabbed one biscuit in each. Even as she feasted upon one greedily, she shoved the other into her big brother’s famished mouth, pausing momentarily to wipe off, with the back of her palm, a tear which dribbled down his still panting face…

– Narendra Nayak © 2017

Hunger is my second short story as part of the series “Add Salt to Taste”.

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