- With a poor old man.
- Queues end.
- Hoarding and black marketing.
- My food.
- Old age.
Humble is my birth and humble is my work. The war was my father, but I know not my mother.
I was born in 1966 in a big press, where millions like me were born. All of us were dressed in a chequered uniform. Then we were sent in batches to different quarters to fight not of course on the battle-front, but on the food front. While we were being carried on the way, I happened to see a mile-long queue of men, women and children waiting for a mouthful For pain. I was sorry to know what man had made of man.
After a few days something was written on me and I was handed over to a poor old man. He also got a few of my brothers for the members of his family. henceforward I shall describe him as my master though in fact I am his benefactor and master but Shakespeare says, “What is in a name?”
As soon as I visited the grain-shop, I found to my great surprise, that the queues had ended. This way my first and perhaps the most brilliant victory. At the sight of my slender body, the demon of famine took to his heels. I am preserved like a precious gem by my master. Week after week he takes me to the grain shop and gets the required grains. I know that the grain-merchant does not like me, and hence handles me very roughly. But I care a fig for him.
I am an enemy of the black marketeer. But at times I am used as a weapon of the black market. Once my master and his family went on a pilgrimage, leaving me and my brothers to his friend. Rations were regularly drawn and hoarded. When my master returned, he would the grains in the black market. He adopts this malpractice often.
After a few months, a daughter of my master expired. But my master did not return her (his daughter’s) ratio-card to the Government and went on drawing the rations. At last this fact was known. He was then arrested and was sent to jail. On this occasion, I saw the court for the first time, I am a thin fellow as you see me. My food consists of air and little light dust particles that fall from above. Blessings of my master give me new life.
But I have grown old. I am torn at one corner and soiled at another. And though I have grown a little fat because of yellow plaster pasted on my body every year I feel tired and pale. Twice. I was on death bed, but my strong will to live has saved me. In his heart, my master wishes that rationing should go and I should also go. But as you know, however old he may never like to die. Even so I do not like to die.
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