"Not today Bapu, I’ll go tomorrow!"
"Tomorrow will be too late, son!"
"Today, I must visit the temple to pray, Bapu. All the boys are going."
"Pray for what, son?"
"We will pray that India wins the World Cup. If that happens, all our problems will be solved. We will become the world’s greatest nation. After praying, we will all go to the panchayat kendra and watch TV. They are showing a warm-up one-day match in which our team will play."
"That can wait, son. The loan can’t wait!"
"You don’t understand, Bapu! If we win the World Cup, it will change our lives. Mantriji is moving heaven and earth to make it happen. Thanks to him, our issues with Nimbus are resolved. Now all India will watch the World Cup. Just think what a boost that will give to our team! We will pray really hard in the temple."
"Son, you don’t understand. Remember our neighbour? Who took his own life last month? If our land goes, we have nothing to fall back on. You won’t go to school and I won’t be able to provide any food to the family. How will we survive? How will I face the world? It is a matter of life and death, son."
"Bapu, you worry too much. You’ll see, everything will turn out well in the end. Just wait till our team brings back the World Cup. Everything will really be fine then."
"Son," he said desperately. "Suppose our team does not bring back the World Cup. What will you do?"
The boy became solemn. "You are right, Bapu. That’s why it is important that all of us pray as hard as we can. We simply must win the Cup! Don’t worry, tomorrow I shall visit MLA saab and do as you wish. Goodbye Bapu and stop worrying. Tomorrow will be fine!" He whispered almost inaudibly: "Tomorrow will be too late, look after your mother, son...."
(Puri can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)