Movie theatre has been just five more minutes away and I was hoping not to get stuck in a traffic jam. Although it was Saturday afternoon, still you never know about traffic halts. As soon as we reached, I told Samar to hurry up so that we could buy popcorns and cold drinks early, otherwise there would be a long queue. We parked our car and started walking towards mall entrance, taking long steps. A kid started walking with us, holding a bowl ,having a leaf and some oil in it, and begged us for some money. We looked at him. He was a young kid, near about 7-8 years old, barefooted and wearing dirty clothes. Our point of conversation then became “beggars-squad” running these days in the country and how they have converted begging into an industry. While we were discussing, that kid was still walking with us. Out of nowhere, I turned to him and asked him if he was hungry. He didn’t speak and just nodded. Then I asked him if he wants to eat something. He again nodded. There was a Chinese food stall at the corner. We stopped there and asked him what he wants? In a very low and scared tone he replied “Chowmein”. It brought an innocent smile on our faces. I and Samar looked at each other smiling. We ordered a plate of Chowmein and paid 30 Rs to the vendor. Then we saw another young kid, same as of his age, begging from some other people. I asked the first kid if he was his brother or friend. He said no.
Our order was ready, we handed over the plate to first kid. Second kid also came running towards us. We told them ,”it is sufficient quantity, you both take it and share it with each other”. I was expecting that first kid would show his disagreement with the idea of sharing his piece of meal with another boy. But without any sign of resistance, they both held the plate and went running towards the outer stairs of the mall. We again started moving towards the mall. Samar said that security guard might not allow them to sit and eat there and he might scold the kids. So we stood there at some distance, watching them eat very contently. It was an overwhelming feeling; we were not saying it to each other but were experiencing it.
They had almost finished the food and our movie was about to start. On reaching the theatre, Samar reminded me of buying popcorn. I saw the rate list, Rs 220 per bucket. I pulled out 500 Rs note and faces of two little kids started flashing in my mind. I dropped the idea of buying popcorn and moved inside the theatre. Samar didn’t ask me anything, because he had sensed my thoughts.
The Movie was over after two and a half hours, we were walking towards the parking and discussing that movie was just average and not as per expectation. Passing by the same spot, where we were standing a few hours ago watching the kids eat, I thought that we spent 800 Rs over a movie and we were still not happy. But we fed and made those kids happy in just 30 Rs which eventually made us satisfied. How many more kids we could have fed with the money that we spent over a movie or the money that we were going to spend over two buckets of popcorn. I could feel the weight of two movie tickets lying in my pocket. Flashing images of those two hungry children, certainly made the ” Weight of two movie tickets in my pocket, too heavy to carry”