The Old Lady

The old lady sat on the footpath smoking a cigarette. In front of her was a piece of tarpaulin, and on top of it wad a big pile of gooseberries. She was sitting there to sell them, and this was her source of incomeher daily routine. She did not remember how long had it been since she started selling them on that footpath, but she knew it had been long. For she had been there when the giant building behind her was called the Royal Nepal Airlines Corporation, and it had been about ten years since the Royals were removed.

She used to sell gooseberries in Ason, the busiest place in Kathmandu, Nepal, for retail shopping. However she had to move because the local shopkeepers didn’t like her setting shop outside their doorsteps. She was walking away from that place, when she had discovered the giant building, and the bus park in front of it. The mass of people flowing in and out had motivated her to set up her makeshift  shop there. For some time her business bloomed. She didn’t have land to grow gooseberries, so she had to buy them in order to sale, but the profit was big enough for her to not care.

Many years had passed since those days. For some reason, the number of people in the bus park went up, but her customers went down. Forget the profit, she could barely make money needed to survive the day. On bad days, there were no customers at all, and she had to go to bed with an empty stomach. Today was one of those bad days.

She had been sitting in that bus park since nine in the morning, but her income was dead, so she should be mourning. She looked at the pile of gooseberries in front of her. It was not the best she had ever sold, but she did not have the money to buy better ones. It was getting late, and no matter how many people passed by, no one seemed to notice her. Dejected, she started packing her berries. Looks like her family would go to bed hungry today too. No, she thought. She had to manage some money, some loan, for she could not let her family down.

Her train of thought was interrupted by a young boy in a college dress. He seemed to be interested in the gooseberries. He asked if they were for sale. She apologised and said they were not that good. He said he didn’t mind, and bought some and walked away.

The old lady didn’t know where he came from, or where he would go, but she knew one thing, and that was, she had some money to take home.

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The Little Boy’s Toy

The little boy stood outside the toy store. A bright red shirt, blue pants and shiny black boots. The toy in the store was indeed well dressed. Oh, how the little boy wanted that toy. How badly he wanted to play with it.. Probably nobody knew how he felt. He would play with it all the time and never let it go. He could see it clearly, how the toy was made for him. He closed his eyes and imagined his life with that toy. He opened his eyes. The temptation was too great. He moved his hand to grab the toy, but was stopped by the glass window.

For the first time he noticed the glass between him and the toy at the store. As he stared at this villain that blocked him from his toy, he noticed something else. He saw his reflection, a thin, little boy, wearing old,torn pants, a dirty white shirt and a jacket that was older than him. The toy had better clothes than him. He slowly moved away from the window, and his toy. No, it was not his toy, he reminded himself, and started running towards his house.

He stopped running after a couple of minutes. It was difficult to run in the snow with tattered shoes. His body had warmed up from running, which felt good in this cold weather. This warmth brought a sense of comfort to him, but there was still a bit of uneasiness left in his heart. He could not forget the toy. Oh, how badly he wanted that toy, and how happy he would be if his father bought it for him. It would have been the perfect gift. A gift, he knew, he would never get.

The little boy walked slowly towards his house. His father was a carpenter, and his earnings were little. He was the only source of income for the family. The little boy knew this. He knew his father did his best to bring smile to his face, while he himself had a hard time. The little boy understood all this, yet how happy he would be if his father got him that toy with the red shirt. But he knew that won’t happen.

The more he thought about the toy, the more he became angry at his father. “What a useless father,” he thought, “can’t even give me that toy.” As soon as he thought this, he reminded himself, “Its not father’s fault.”

He stopped outside his house, the smallest building in the town. His father had built it himself, and even if it was small, it was his home. He felt a little bit of happiness warming his heart. Still, he could not forget that toy at the toystore, the one he almost had. He took a deep breathe and walked into the house. To his surprise his father was home early, waiting for him with his mother.

“Where have you been?” his father asked, “I have been waiting for you.”

He tried to answer, but his father continued, “Here, I got something for you. I hope you like it.”, as he put something in his little hands.

As soon as the little boy saw what it was, he hugged his father tight. No words came out as he held the little wooden man his father had made in his hands. It was clumsily crafted, but for the little boy it was the most wonderful toy in the world, even better than the toy he saw at the toy store, because unlike all the other toys out there, this toy was his very own toy.