Desperately craving a morsel to satisfy my twenty-day old appetite, I sat by the roadside. It was the day, I realized that hunger is the most powerful weapon on earth. Hunger kills not only your brawn but also brain. It destroys everything, before it destroys you. By now, it had destroyed my self-respect and here I was, ready to beg. I wasn’t ashamed of myself even remotely.

I don’t think twice before picking up food from the garbage bin and devouring it as if it’s the best food in the whole world. Health and hygiene seem to be alien terms that have nothing to do with me when I’m ravenous. All I think of is food.

Food plays on mind, on a loop, just like the privileged play their favorite songs on a loop. The last proper meal I had was during a food donation drive by an NGO in my locality. What a sumptuous meal it was! The aroma wafting through the food that day, still lingers in my mind.

Since then, every night I have this recurring dream of a huge platter with all the tempting dishes served at the food drive. But no sooner I stretch my arm to stuff my mouth with the food in front of me, the dream comes to a grinding halt, throwing me back into reality, where hunger pangs are an everyday story.

I am astonished how the dream ends at the same point night after night. Then it dawns upon me that even dreams betray the hungry.

Downcast I wake up, looking at the heavens above supplicating, “God, please let the dream last until I lick the platter clean. I’m not praying for food anymore. I’m just praying for the dream to continue, until my belly is full. Am I asking for too much, God?”

Leela Satyan