Little Sonu was excited.
It was the first day of the month – salary day for Baba.
For the whole month, Baba had toiled away, making those scary big machines run in the factory.
Sonu looked at the wall clock.
Half an hour more, Sonu thought to himself.
Soon, Baba would arrive with pockets full of chocolates – the first of the many perks of the salary day.
Then, Baba would give the most of his salary to Maa.
With a smile of relief on her face, Maa would safely tuck away the money in her trunk.
“Beta, go get dressed quickly!”, he would say stroking Sonu’s oil-smeared hair.
It was as if Sonu was waiting for those very words. He would quickly jump into action, putting on his best clothes, pair of shoes, and his fake plastic watch.
Soon, they would be out in the crowded streets, walking hand in hand. Sonu in middle. Parents on his side.
Maa looked unusually beautiful on salary days. She would wear her hair in two long plaits, put on her favourite Yellow sari, and put a red bindi between her eyes.
Baba seemed like the boldest man on salary days. He would simply barge into street side shops, haggle with keepers, and buy toys, a new sari or two. Maa looked at Baba with eyes full of wonder.
And Sonu just couldn’t stop admiring Baba.
“I will be like Baba when I grow up”, he would resolve silently.
Soon, they would go to the neighbourhood cinema hall, and watch a movie. He enjoyed the song and dance. And also the brave heroes.
Back home, he tried to replicate the stunts he saw in the movie.
At the end, they would all return home, laughing, joking about the day spent.
Sonu would sit on his father’s shoulders. He could smell Baba’s scented hair.
Maa and Baba held hands. Sonu noticed that.
They were happy.
Salary day was the happiest day of their little universe. As the day came to a close, Sonu felt a little sad. For ahead of them, lay one full month of discipline, frugality, and no evening-outs.
But he smiled when he thought that a similiar evening-out awaited them after the long dry spell of frugality.