The twins asked if I would have some tea. I said, “Why not?”
Sukhwinder called the nearest tea stall, “Hello, Bittu, have you returned from school?… Can you bring 3 teas and 3 Rajasthani Bhel?…”
I asked, “Is there a Bikaner shop nearby? Where do you get Rajasthani Bhel, here?”
Sukhwinder replied, “Bittu’s father is from Rajasthan. He had a small tea stall in front of a sweets shop. His shop is diagonally opposite to ours. He used to open Dad’s clinic in the morning and clean it up. He would also do petty jobs for our biological mother. The sweets shop owner wanted to sell his shop. My mother helped Bittu’s father buy the shop with a bank loan. He began to serve puri-bhaji, vada pao, samosa, bhajia, etc. with tea. My mother got Bittu’s father married to her Maharashtrian maid. They would live inside the shop. The woman joined a Jhunka Bhakar stall as a worker. Jhunka Bhakar is a type of Maharashtrian dish and is sold in their own outlets in Maharashtra. Both of them worked hard and developed their shop further to build a home behind it.
Prem took over, “When this woman became pregnant, Vanita Mom helped her deliver at her hospital free of cost. Bittu’s elder brother was born. He was a blue baby and expired within 20 days. The couple was dejected and took some time to overcome their loss. Soon, we were born and Mom expired. Then, Bittu’s grandmother’s health began to fail. She wanted to see a grandchild before dying. But, the couple were not very confident of giving birth to a viable progeny. However, due to the old woman’s compulsion, they tried and 3-4 miscarriages resulted. Vanita Mom took her to a good gynecologist. The gynecologist gave her some good advice and counseled her. She also told her to meet her when she missed her periods. Post medications and bedrest, Bittu was born. Bittu is very pampered at his home. You will see so many talismans on his body.”
At that time, a 13-year-old Bittu and his talismans entered with tea and eatables.
To be continued…