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Neelam waved her tiny hands at Mauni, her Maai. Striving hard not to sublime to tears, she too waved back.Why didn't Neelam cry, like all the kids used to, on their first day at school? Maybe she too was weary of the chaos of yester night. After all she was too little to know what all the fuss was about! The only thing Neelam knew was, she missed her playmate, her brother and he wasn't to be seen anywhere. Least did she knew, her brother waved bye to walk to his grave the last day, from this very gate ...... With grief misting her eyes, Mauni waited before the office.....
The society would spit on her. They would call this, a ruthless act of a heartless mother, and the people with the mikes and cameras would weave stories out of her. But only Mauni knew that mourning and pity wouldn't fill her 3 year old's tummy. And she was left with no option than to sent Neelam to eat from the same kitchen, which served her son, his last supper. Several officials and media people, in their pricey attires and serious faces hissed curses on each other, inside the worn out office room. But it couldn't matter to "lesser mortals" like Mauni and thousands like her. For, she knew the battle, they claimed to fight for these people had nothing to do with real pains of their lives. A futile battle it was, for survival was the biggest battle for all of them!
At last the self acclaimed warriors flooded out of the office room, through the puny door. Mauni entered and met the lady inside. She pleaded with the Supreme Lady to admit her Neelam, in the school. She nodded her head slowly. Mauni sighed and turned back, to take her leave. Then she heard Her, speaking under her breath, " Ah! Is she nuts? She lost her son the last day and instead of being at home, she decides to admit her daughter to this same school today! Does she wanna kill her daughter too? Insane." Mauni couldn't take it anymore, she wept bitterly. But more was in reserve for her.
The media pounced at the Mother, with the pleasure of having found the prey of the day. Questions pierced through her heart and tears were all Mauni had in reply. Little did they know that, for mothers like Mauni, mourning was way too expensive, but hunger came for free and ate them up!