The wails of her younger sister wake up Anju. ‘Don’t sleep like a buffalo, get up and attend to your sister’ screamed her grandmother, in between her bouts of cough, caused by the oven than burns damp firewood. Anju got up, rolled her mat, picked up her younger sister and soothed her. She had a couple of hours before she goes to Rathi madam’s house to wash clothes and clean vessels. Today, madam had asked her to come early. Her son, daughter in law and grand children have come from New York. She is planning a special lunch. Anju always liked the family, as they are nice generous people. Anju knew that she will get some money, chocolates and so she was looking forward to her work today.
There was a lot of work to be done, the now Americanized daughter in law of Rathi madam felt guilty about how people were treated in our country. She gave Anju 100 rupees as bonus! Anju thought she should buy some trinkets for her and medicines for grandmother. The rest she has to give to grandmother without appa knowing, else he will snatch and squander it on liquor.
When in the market she saw a parrot astrologer and as sixteen year old, full of dreams, wanted to know what is in store for her, in the future. The astrologer, being an astrologer, told her how a prince charming would come and make her happy. He also said that a foreign trip was on cards for her and it was up to her to take it or not. Anju was on cloud nine, if she could go she can solve all her family’s problems. She has seen how Rathi madam’s living changed after her son went to America. When an opportunity comes I should be ready she said to herself. She made a list of things she would need for the travel, she already knew how to get the first thing it was easy. Next day she asked Rathi, if she can get the old worn out trolley back that anna had brought back from America. Anju finally got it, and took it to her home. Then the long wait for the opportunity, began!
It did come one day, after months or may be years, she didn’t count. Her dad came running into the house and said Muniappa was enrolling people to work in a sheikh's house in Dubai. Anju couldn't believe her ears and rushed to Muni with whom her appa, negotiated commercials, but she was too excited to notice. A deal was stuck & the day of departure arrived. Anju boarded the bus with others; with less luggage and a huge baggage. As soon as the bus started, Muni made a call and informed someone that he has sent the next batch and asked him to snatch the passports as soon as they arrive, as he handed over a wad of notes to Anju’s father.