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The pastry

"Didi, woh cake dena..."
"Usey pastry kehte hain"
"Kya ?"
"Pastry !"
"Achha...wohi...dena...woh chocolate wala"
"Mehenga hai. Paise hain kya ?"

Suddenly Chhotu felt completely out of place in the pastry shop. He, with his old, oversized, dirty clothes, face streaked with soot and rough dirty hands, didn't belong here. The lady at the counter was so clean. She was wearing new clothes and she smelled so nice. The whole shop smelled so nice in fact, that Chhotu felt that a balloon seller like him who lived on the footpath was somehow polluting the air of that shop.

Suddenly his confident tone vanished. He put his grubby hands in his pocket, removed the crimpled notes and counted them under his breath "10...20...30...40...50"

Then in a shaky voice, he told the pretty lady, "Pachaas hain"

The lady paused, looked at him from head to toe, breathed in audibly and said, "Yeh pastry pachpan ki hai"

Chhotu's face fell. He clutched harder at the crumpled notes and put them back in his pocket. Dejected, he turned around to leave the shop.

"Lekin..." he suddenly heard the lady say and he turned to face her "Agar tum yahan jhadoo lagaoge, toh main tumhe yeh pastry pachaas mein doongi"

Chhotu took one whole minute to grasp what the lady said. And when he did, he flashed his brightest smile at her. The lady gave him a mischievous smile.

When Chhotu walked out of the shop he momentarily wondered why he saw tears glistening in the pretty lady's eyes. But instantly his attention was diverted towards the luscious, rich, chocolate pastry in his hand and his eyes brightly that they could well have been diamonds.


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