Lucky

y“You can never afford this shit,” one of my relatives said, scooping something out of a plastic can with his index finger and licking it deliciously when I asked him what it was.  I was fourteen then, and he was in his early twenties. Tall and stylish. Well dressed. Untainted. Clean shaven. Silky hair. Clever eyes. Good looking. He was born in a family that owned two private cars and three busses, plotted land in various places across the country. I was sitting in a rocking chair in his bedroom. He had a king size bed with the ceiling fan on over it, and by its side an embroidered decorated cupboard with  glass doors that displayed his fancy clothes with tags on and the top row contained a few more plastic cans similar to the one he was licking his finger from.

It was the month of May of 1995 when I had just finished my School Leaving Certificate (SLC) exam, and I was there to celebrate my vacation for a few days to mark my break after the exam.


I grimaced and remained self-contained because he was reminding me of my ground reality, my poverty. Being a son of a farmer who worked on the farm that hardly yielded enough crops, I could barely have two pieces of clothes in a year, nor quality flip-flops to wear, let alone shoes. He was right that one should be lucky enough to acquire such privileges as he was in.    

“You should be lucky from birth to consume this,” he further said, scooping the stuff from the can with the same finger one more time and licking it again.

“What is it?” I repeated. My mouth watered.

“Forget about it. You can never afford,” he repeated too, put the lid on it, and put it away in the cupboard.

I grimaced and remained self-contained because he was reminding me of my ground reality, my poverty. Being a son of a farmer who worked on the farm that hardly yielded enough crops, I could barely have two pieces of clothes in a year, nor quality flip-flops to wear, let alone shoes. He was right that one should be lucky enough to acquire such privileges as he was in.    

Most recently, it has been twenty-three years now, his statements resurfaced to my memory, and did not leave me. To me oblivious, I continued wondering what that stuff he licked from the can was and that I could “never afford.” Perhaps, Chyawanprash, or Horlicks, or something that boosts the stamina of the body, I guessed. I never asked, nor will I.  All in all, time matters. He is now where I was then. I am in my late thirties, and he is in his late forties. Yes, he is right, it is all about being lucky.   

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