Forced into a shimmery red dress, Amber was a hysterical wreck. After much coaxing by friends, she had reluctantly agreed to attend the New Year’s party, thrown by one of her close friends.
Stepping out of her apartment, Amber saw, much to her delight, that the night sky had already erupted into a glittering canvas of celebration. It felt like the entire city was pulsating with life. Except for the far end of the street, which remained bathed in darkness. As Amber walked over, she was once again struck by the great divide. On one end of the street lay the glistening apartments of the rich, while the other end was dark, where poverty and neglect prevailed.
Here lived Feroz, the 10-year old son of a migrant labourer. Amber had come to know his name much later while commuting to work every day when his innocence and polite nature had spun a friendship between them. Walking along that road every day, she always found herself greeted with his easy grin or a steady wave of the arm.
Feroz didn’t care much for the new year, or why it called for a celebration. For him, the only nights that brought him joy were the ones where he slept with a full stomach, and that night wasn’t one of those. His family had been barely managing to scrape a living.
Just as Amber went past his frayed shack to reach for her taxi, she saw the familiar face looking at her.
“Hi, Feroz. Why are you up so late? Aren’t your parents home?” asked Amber.
“They have gone to work at the big house down the road. Are you going there too? Will you take me? I am hungry and can’t sleep,” Feroz replied.
This shook Amber. It isn’t fair she thought to herself.
“Why don’t you come home with me? We can have dinner, eat cake and chocolates!” said Amber, her big eyes glowing with affection.
“Really? But aren’t you going somewhere?” the boy asked innocently.
“Not anymore,” said Amber with a warm smile.
And with that, Amber did what she had never done before. She turned a little boy’s mundane night into one of celebration and joy.