I was looking into a curious pair of green eyes.
“What a beautiful name!” I commented, generally to myself.
It was a beautiful morning. We were on the way cycling through our regular route, and fond that Surinder has shut shop. People laying pipelines in the neighbourhood said he has left for his native village and may not return soon. Sheru and Laali are nowhere to be found. They might have found themselves some other place to live.
So on the way back, we planned to look out for some other roadside stall for the regular tea-break. That’s when we spotted another makeshift tea stall and planned try it out. The stall is manned by no one else than a lovely little girl barely 10 years old.
“Are you here all by yourself?” The wife got curious.
“No. My sister and brother in law runs the store.” She says.
“Can you make tea?” I’m slightly doubtful.
“Yes” she said to my surprise.
And when it came in cups, it was one of the tastiest I’ve had. Rich in milk and sugar, slightly on the lighter side. Not a hard tea.
“How old are you Aarti?” I’m curious.
The smile. I understood.
“Actually I don’t know. You have to ask mommy.”
That’s when Smitha said, we have a little one in the house, a little older than Aarti herself.
Aarti’s father is a supplier of bottled water. Her mother is a housewife. They live 15 km away from here. Her brother goes to school. When her elder sister was married off, she took Aarti along, while relocating with her husband, to the city. Her brother in law is a rickshaw puller, and he arranged for this makeshift tea stall, so that the girls can use their time well, and support their living in the city.
We promised to visit again and bade farewell.
After a few weeks break from cycling mainly due to viral fever, I’m planning to get back to cycling this weekend.