The best sleep

I found a chocolate on the table. ‘Bournville’ it read. The price was Rs. 99. I don’t remember touching a chocolate worth 99 bucks before in my life.

I look around for the owner. I ask a few people passing by the table I was standing at, and it belonged to none.

I couldn’t just go and ask every single person in the bustling office cafeteria if they were the owner of the chocolate. After all, I had my job to get back to. My boss would be furious if he saw me avoiding work for the sake of returning a chocolate to its owner.

I put the chocolate in my pocket and I continue with my job.

At 11pm, I reach home. My home is in a slum on the outskirts of the city. I enter my home, and my three-year-old daughter comes running up to me.

She always stays up to see me come back home. I fish the chocolate out of my pocket and hand it over to her.

That’s probably the biggest chocolate she has ever seen in the three years of her life. She rips the wrapper off like it is some delicate thing which could break if she tore it off the wrong way.

She looks at the chocolate and slowly takes a bite. Then, she smiles at the chocolate, and I find myself smiling at her.

An hour later, I have my dinner and I walk up to see if my daughter is asleep. I find her sleeping with the chocolate wrapper tucked safely under her head, a smile playing on her lips; the smile akin to that of a person who has found something precious to hold on to.

The very sight of the peace on her face makes me forget all about my hectic day.

It makes me forget all about how I clean the tables in the cafeteria all day long.

It makes me forget how I look at the leftovers of good food, and wonder if I can ever procure such food for my family.

It makes me forget my doubts about if I can ever keep my family happy.

It makes me feel peaceful. The burden on my heart and on my shoulder gets lighter.

And I sleep the sleep of any other man who is tired after work, irrespective of what work he does.

I sleep the sleep of a man who sleeps the best after ensuring the happiness of his family.

I sleep with a smile akin to that on my daughter’s face.

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