Little Red Riding Hood was born in a world of chaos. The trees were dying and the urban jungle gave little solace. She was part of the fast paced society in which people coveted wealth no matter what the means to achieve it and the consequences.
Little Red Riding Hood’s name was Nita. She had pretty little black eyes that sparkled with curiosity and interest. Her curly black hair fell onto her shoulder and moved noiselessly in the wind. Nita always wore her favorite red hair bow.
Nita took a bus to school. Every day, she waited at the bus stop along with her mother. Today was different from all the other days.
Her mother told her, ‘I have to work late at the office. Go to grandmother’s house in the evening after school. I will pick you up from there. Grandmother is sick, so you have to walk from the bus stop to grandmother’s place. You know where it is, don’t you? Do not stop anywhere. Be careful.’
Nita nodded her head. She boarded the bus, occupied the window seat and waved to her mother as the bus moved on. Today was going to be a long day for Nita.
After school, the bus dropped her at the same spot where she boarded. She started walking towards her grandmother’s place. There is a slurpee stall on the way. It was a small stall by the road side, with a machine which poured fizzy drinks. Nita was familiar with the person at the shop. Every time she passed by, he invited her to have a slurpee. He stood there from morning till night, pressing the button which delivered the drink into huge plastic cups.
How much she longed to have one of those drinks. Mother never approved of them. She said they were unhealthy. Nita searched her pockets for some loose change. Grandma always drops something or the other into her pockets, in spite of protests from mother. She counted the money; she had nine rupees, she was short by six rupees.
Nita delved into the many recesses of her navy blue tunic to find more money. As she was searching, she heard someone ask, ‘Do you need the slurpee?’
She turned around and saw a tall lean man. He looked strong in spite of his lean frame. She remembered who he was. He used to come to school in her bus. He sat beside the driver. He stopped coming a few weeks ago. Why did he stop coming?
Nita replied, ‘Yes but I don’t have the money’
‘I can buy it for you. ‘
Before Nita could answer, he bought her two slurpees. Her eyes sparkled with excitement. She wanted one, he gave her two!
She took both of them into her hands. The blue and the pink drinks tasted so good.
He asked her, ‘Where are you going?’
‘To grandmother’s place’
‘Where does she stay?’
‘In Splendor Apartments’
Nita was irritated that he was asking too many questions. He is not allowing her to enjoy the drinks.
‘Why didn’t your grandfather come to pick you up?’
‘He is out of town. Slurp’
‘What about your grandmother?’
‘She is sick. Slurp’
‘Where does she stay in Splendor?’
As soon as he heard it, he told her, ‘Enjoy your drink. I will see you again.’
To be continued …
Second part on January 15th
Image from google images
Featured image from https://in.pinterest.com/explore/red-riding-hood-wolf/