It was Diwali time.
There was nip in the air.
He buttoned up his shirt.
Stopping at a traffic light on MG road, his mind started mulling over the same thought. Involuntarily, his right hand moved from the handle of his old Vespa scooter to the big, blue bag strapped to his back, feeling the outline of a packet that was inside.
Today was the last day and he had to decide.
The mere thought of making a decision made him nervous. After all, he was just a courier delivery man for a shopping portal, trained to deliver, get the invoice signed and come back for another day. He was tempted to consult a friend. But then he had none.
Well, it was safe, he told himself.
It was just a matter of two days. The office would be closed and the day it would re-open, he would ensure that every thing would be normal. Delays in delivery did happen and the reasons were varied. He had already filed a report that the house was locked and no one answered the call. To make his story fool proof, he had even gone to the residential complex mentioned in the address, made an entry at the entrance, went inside the condominium, took a round and came back. If anyone would go to verify, there would be ample proof to support him.
However, there was someone who could poke holes in his infallible plan—his conscience.
For the past three days, he had been trying his best to placate it, but with little success. Wasn’t he a father too with responsibility towards Suhani, her ailing daughter? She had been in the hospital for past six weeks now. What was dishonest in not delivering the big doll for another two days, and handing it over to his daughter as a Diwali gift? She had specifically asked for a doll as big as herself for Diwali. Too bad, her treatment left him with no money to buy one. He had been working overtime, had taken the last penny as advance from his office, borrowed from every relative he could have thought of. There was no way he could have spent four thousand rupees on a doll. He could visualize how her angelic face would light up on receiving the doll.
Today was the last day of delivery. If today also he showed the apartment to be locked, the packet would be his for two days, as they would be closed for Diwali. He knew that after two days, Suhani would have no time for the doll as her surgery was scheduled immediately after Diwali. Once she came out, and if she survived, he would do something else to make her happy. He wanted to give her what could have been her last Diwali gift. He had to do it.
On his way to the hospital, his mind was still trying to concoct a believable story, which could convince Suhani. He didn’t want to lie. Why should a five year old fighting for life be exposed to the harsh realities of life? He did try killing his conscience and retaining the doll. But one thought stopped him – the doll could have been ordered by the parents of an ailing daughter too. After the realization, he had entrusted the situation to God.
**** **** ****
“She is jubilant today.” The Doctor smiled as he saw him in the corridor.
“What happened?” He could not see any reason.
“Volunteers of an NGO had come to distribute toys in the general ward. Your daughter has got a doll as Diwali gift.”
Cover Illustration : Romanch Soni
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