It was still early in the evening and the dinner crowd at Hotel Regent had not started coming in yet. Only a few tables were occupied.
They sat at tables diagonally opposite to each other. She was with a huge group of friends and he was with his parents.
He envied the rich, exotic dishes that the waiter brought to her table. He envied the huge sundaes that she and each of her friends held in their hands. He envied the wad of currency notes that she pulled out of her large purse and counted, in the midst of a chat with a friend. Shards of conversation drifting in from their table made it clear that it was her treat – she was treating her friends for something. When would he be able to treat his friends in such a fashion? His mouth almost filled with a bitter taste as his thoughts drifted. Why should life be so unfair? Why should a girl almost the same age as himself have so much money to spend? Why should he, a young, school student, having his own peer pressure and desires, be deprived of such luxuries? Why could they not afford such things? Why did they have to wait for an occasion, such as his father’s birthday today, to dine out? When would they rise to the high class from the middle class? Would they ever be able to order from the menu in a restaurant without being conscious of the price of a dish?
She couldn’t help noticing the sweet, old-fashioned way the boy and his parents seemed to eat their dinners. They seemed so close to each other, and so happy. She wondered when would she be able to dine out the same way with her parents. When would her parents find time for her? When would they start giving her more importance than meetings and parties? When would she stop coming home to cold dinners and notes stuck on refrigerators? When would her parents stop substituting money for their love?
PS: I have been pottering around with my camera a bit these days, trying to learn photography. Here are some of my attempts. Would love to have your comments.