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She heard the deep voice of Amitabh Saying “Cadbury Celebrations! Kuchh meetha ho jaaye”. Celebrations are the last things on our minds, she thought. A mother of three who had to take care of them by working as part time maid in four households and knitting woolen blankets for the riches in the evening. And she didn’t have the support of her husband either. That drunkard bas***d had run off in a drunken spree from his home and came in the way of an incoming train.
Suppressing her sobs she focused on work of Diwali cleaning that she was currently engaged in. “what a pity” she thought “I clean every one’s home spic and span and that too when I have a single room which, however much I try, cannot find enough unoccupied space worth cleaning”. With three adolescent children with her in the single room accommodation, there was barely any space to live; let alone worth bothering with for Diwali cleaning.
Though she was the sole bread earner for her family, the thought of getting her children to work in order to support the family never entered her mind. Not even for once. She wanted a brighter future for them and was ready to make any sacrifice to ensure that they do get ample education for some future not involving cleaning others’ homes. Not that the children never offered. The eldest, Rajesh, offered to quit studies and work part time at a nearby factory at the age of fourteen, five years ago when her husband died, met with a determined NO from her. At nineteen, he was now enrolled in a vocational institution and training to become an electrician.
But money was getting harder to earn these days. She had to work hard to make all the ends meet. And it was at occasions like these when she felt so sorry for herself and the life that her kids were forced to live.
“Maya!” came the jarring voice of madam. “You haven’t cleaned the side table in the drawing room yet. Soon you will finish the work haphazardly and go to that Mrs. Sharma. Do I not pay you equally? Why does she get more work done than me?” she carried on.
By the time she was done with the chores of Mrs Sharma, it was already dark. And she had not bought anything for Diwali as yet. Nor did she have any money for it. “Yet another day in the dark especially on the day of lights. Such is my fortune that I cannot even provide enough to get some candles and sweets for my children.”
As she went to their room, she was surprised to see her children standing outside the door. Anticipating some trouble, she went to them in trepidation and asked them if something was wrong. They consoled her and assured her that all was fine. They just felt like waiting for her on the door for her. They took her hands and guided her inside. Inside, she was pleasantly surprised to see a stack of candles and Diyas, a pack of Cadbury chocolates and some firecrackers besides them.
“Mom we wanted to surprise you with this. We have been saving for these for some time now just so that, for a change, we could work towards providing you with something”. And that in itself was a bigger celebration for her than all the sweets and lighting in the world combined.