The tie hung from the bedpost with a badge pierced to its heart.
The school uniform lay buried in a place no one could find;
His pairs of white canvas and black leather shoes
Stared from the rack, with jaws dropped and soiled faces.
And the school bag sulked at a forsaken corner like some lost baggage.
To watch the orange sun peep into his window,
See dad and mom get ready to leave for work,
He would wake up real early everyday.
Seeing this Puttu’s folks would simply wonder,
Why he tried so hard to do the same during schooldays.
“Uppooo, Uppoooya” the Salt Seller would call out loud in the streets,
Pulling his two wheeled cart with a big sack of salt on it.
A sling pouch with rupee notes and paises, dangled from his shoulder.
Puttu would echo back from atop and hide behind the balcony grill.
Just to make him stop and look up with an “I-know-these-tricks” smirk.
Gradually, the street would start to hum
With veggies, fruits and flowers sellers;
And people at the ration depot with thundering kerosene cans.
Standing on a single foot he would watch them,
Drooping over the grill and hands stretched outwards.
Freda Aunty would give him company after mom left to the factory.
Serve him breakfast, from the hot case, and a glass full of Complan.
Softly narrate stories or incidents, and chuckle at jokes heartily.
Making sure Puttu had his fill and didn’t get into to any trouble
Till Ammamma would return from her age-old school.
A short nap would follow the post lunch storytelling session,
After which he would fly kites from his balcony.
Swaying left and right it would tickle the cloud’s belly,
Wiggling its lengthy, thin tail in a serpent’s fashion.
Till the summer rain would begin with tiny ice chunks.
Rushing back inside, he would return with an umbrella open.
Inverted and towards the sky he would stretch it forth
To collect the ice chunks that would disappear right then.
Some he would pop into his mouth and some into a film roll box.
But before his folks returned, into plain water, the chunks would thaw.
The fun and frolic didn't end till it turned dark,
He feared it mostly, whenever there was a power cut.
Diligently kneeling down with hands together, by his bed,
Before going to sleep, everyday he would pray and plead;
Asking God “Holidays are for us to play. Could you please say
Let there be light all through the day?”