He makes it a point to visit the food market everyday, dressed in a long dapper suit sporting a red polka dots scarf, slick combed hair, hands in his suit jacket, parading around the market for food to satiate his hunger.
The food market is a lot like the fish market you see in India with the exception of bad smell and watery floors. Held in an old dilapidated warehouse, the food market is what he looks forward to each day.
One fine morning on his daily routine, he finds a small make-shift kiosk of two old ladies selling food. Their stall has no name but lies on the way to his regular stall. As he walks down that lane, one of the two old ladies see him walking down to their stall and her face lights up; smiling she offers a small earthen pot with some kind of nuts, the likes of which he has never seen before. He kindly declines and suggests that he was on the way to the next stall. Embarrassed, the old lady gives way.
He had not seen these two old ladies in the market before but he sure was curious. It was quite unusual for ladies their age to be working in the market. He decides to try food at their stall tonight.
Confidently, he walks towards the stall and asks for a certain food involving eggs. The other old lady behind the counter gets to work and whips up a sandwich involving an omelette, some gravy and an outer covering made of maida. She carefully wraps it in a plastic bag and offers it to the gentleman in the suit. But before he could grab his food, she lets go and the plastic bag falls straight into the open blue garbage bag right below. She gets back to work like nothing happened.
The other lady apologizes for her colleagues behavior fervently while the lady who put his food in garbage is making more eggs, unapologetic of the whole situation. He picks his food from the garbage bag and asks the other lady to make another similar delicacy but this time with boiled eggs. Happy at the chance of making food for this gentleman, she gets right to work.
He asks them, “Where are you beautiful ladies from? I haven’t seen you here before”. His way of charming ladies was something he picked up spending several years traveling around the country.
“Oh we are from a village not far from here. We recently started setting up shop after realizing the profit margin is much higher here”, the kind old lady replied cutting a boiled egg in half. He almost didn’t listen to the old lady, eyeing the egg yellow that tumbled away from the egg white reminding him how much he loved eggs. He looked at the old lady and smiled acknowledging her reply, however he was too involved in the aroma of spices that hit his nostrils like ecstasy. It reminded him of his childhood.
He reached in his pocket to fetch the money he owed them. He handed over the coins to them along with a souvenir that he had received in his childhood – a chick peas shaped metal key chain.
The rude old lady grabbed this object and questioned him with a stern authority, “Where did you get this?” she asked thundering down on him.
“My mother gave it to me when I was a kid? Why?” he replied, confused.
She placed the nut carefully on the metal kiosk, opened a flap and pressed a button underneath. The kiosk chimed and a eerie hologram appeared right in front of his face.
“This metal nut does not belong to you, it belongs to our savior”, the kind old lady said.
The hologram displayed ‘MCLID’. The hologram in itself however was alarming to him, he was alien to this technology.
“What is this MCLID? Are you competing with McDonalds?” he asked, mocking the ladies.
“Don’t you dare make fun of our savior”, the old lady rattled grabbing his hand forcefully. (like the Trump power handshake)
He felt a sudden pang in his head and a vivid array of emotions went through him. He heard children banging on the door of his bedroom trying to wake him up from a deep slumber. His bedroom was a place for the kings, signs of wealth and royalty everywhere. He could see the wooden double door with intricate designs, he could feel the warmth of the bed he lay in and the texture of the rich sheets. He heard the banging get louder and louder.
The kind old lady pushed him away from the rude old lady.
What had happened just now? What had he just seen? He was disoriented and appalled.
He ran away from the old dilapidated warehouse, which had once been a food market.