Dreams, at least one place where things were how he wished them to be. Ajju was fascinated by dreams, he wished that the time he was awake was a long dream, and his dreams, reality.

His mother ploughed her hands into his hair, “Wake up Ajju, It’s already too late for school.” Who would choose a harsh reality over a pleasant dream? Unwilling to come out of his fantasy world, Ajju winced and turned to the other side. After 5 minutes of jostling, the mother won, as all mothers do.

With his eyelids still trying to open completely under the burden of worldly reality, he brushed his teeth. He was worried about his milk-teeth falling, what if they never grew back? He was terrified at the thought of looking like his grandpa, if he didn’t grow his teeth back. Listening to the usual edifications on waking up early and being an ideal boy from his mother, he proceeded to take a bath.

He gobbled up on a roll of parantha stuffed with vegetables, while his mother dressed him up for school. She parted his hair into two clear halves, ever so meticulously. He detested that ‘nice boy’ look with great passion, but he loved the satisfaction on his mother’s face after she was finished doing it more. Dressed in emerald green half pants, a white shirt and shining black shoes of which the laces were still being tied by his mother, Ajju was all set to leave.

His mother kissed his forehead and ceremoniously enquired if he had taken all his books and stationary with him. He hugged his mother while responding with the usual ‘yes’ and walked out. He loved school, unlike most children he knew. He loved learning, playing with classmates, opening his tiffin box & munching from it and listening to the intriguing stories his teachers would tell. He reached the gates of his school and stepped in, in anticipation of another amazing day.

His eyes were still bulky, he was just woken up by the cacophony of steel plates and tumblers being thrown at him. “Do I pay you to sleep? You little bastard!” said the usual voice, “Clean them right now and be quick. I find one more plate you did not clean properly, I am beating the shit out of you.” he added angrily.

He wasn’t surprised by the Dhaba ownder’s words, just shattered. The plates were washed, with a mixture of cheap soap and his tears, while he wished that he could live on forever in that recurring dream, the distant dream. Dreams, at least that one place where things were how he wished them to be.

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