Not Mere Shoes, but a Dream Come True: A Story by Srividya Gupta

Young Meera sat under the shade of the tree, wiping her forehead. It was a hot afternoon, but Meera was used to it by now. All through the summer vacation, Meera had come to this spot to sell the homemade Vada’s and idli’s made by her mom. Soon, the holidays would come to an end, ushering in the new academic session at the local town.

Meera felt the coins in her dress pocket, jingling them. She counted them again. If she managed to sell all the Vada’s and Idli’s today, she would have made enough money, with which she would buy a pair of brand new black school shoes. Her long-awaited dream would come true.

Belonging to a poor family, Meera had learned early on that her family could not afford her education. But her parents had left no stones unturned to ensure that Meera would get the education she needed. She considered herself extremely lucky. She adored them. She had offered to sell the Vada’s and Idli’s so that it would bring in the extra money.

Some more time lapsed and no customers. Meera was about to wind up when an old man appeared. He looked grail and weak.

“Can you feed an old man?” he asked

“Of course,” said Meera, excited. “How many do you want? They cost one rupee each. “

“My dear child, I don’t have money,” said the old man.

Meera’s young mind was now confused. If she fed him for free, she would still be short of the money required for buying the shoes. But how could she allow him to go hungry? Hadn’t her father always taught her to be a good human being above anything else?

“OK, how many do you want?” she asked

“Oh! Can I eat all of them? asked the old man, ” I haven’t eaten for days.”

Meera gave him the remaining Vada’s and Idli’s. Covering the basket with a cloth, she walked towards home, feeling despondent. Upon reaching home, Meera took out the cloth and, to her utter surprise, saw the exact amount of coins needed for her to buy the shoes. She was dumbfounded.

The next day she set off with her parents to buy a pair of black shoes. As she put them on, she felt utter joy that rose in her heart.

As she turned around to thank her parents, she saw the silhouette of the old man across the street. In a flash, it was gone.

Day for Meera, they were not mere shoes, but a dream come true, by divine intervention.