“What is more important? You better decide it now – your religion or an umbrella?”
K__ sat with his head in his hands. Every monsoon is either too soon or too late, and the crops are destroyed. Last monsoon, he not only lost his crops but his six year old daughter L_ too. She had succumbed to pneumonia. She had not played in the rain. She had only walked to school in the rain, and had remained there all day in her wet clothes. She did not heed her father’s advice to miss school. She had wanted to become a doctor.
M__ sat next to her husband. “Darling husband, listen to me. Religion is for the rich. We poor need umbrellas. These people are promising umbrellas, raincoats for kids, evening milk and free hospitals too. What else do we need? How bad can it be, this changing religion? Let’s just do it, for the sake of our children.”
“What will everyone say?”
“Did anyone help us when L__ was dying? Why should we bother about what they say? Three kids are dependent on us. See S__’s life now. How happy and well-fed he and his kids are now? Decide soon. If another of my kid dies, I die with them. You can live alone.” M__ burst out crying.
K__ got up and nodded his head. “Don’t cry, woman. I understand. Life is more important than religion. Let’s go and collect our umbrellas tomorrow.”