A man and his wife together in a small village near Hyderabad. One day, the lady told her husband that she was going to Hyderabad to do some shopping.
There are many big shops in Hyderabad, and the lady liked shopping there. Early the next morning the man woke his wife with a hot cup of tea. ‘Wake up, dear,’ he said softly. ‘I have made you a cup of tea’. It’s near your pillow. I am also leaving a thousands-rupee note next to the cup. Don’t go back to sleep, or you will miss the bus. He shook her gently and then went out off to work in the fields.
As the lady lay on her bed and thought about what she was going to buy that day she sleep lightly. She woke up with a start. ‘Oh dear!’ she said, looking at the clock. ‘I shall have to hurry, or I’ll miss the bus’. The lady washed and dressed quickly. She takes hold of bed her bag and walked as fast as her legs would take her. When she reached the bus stop she was huffing and puffing.
Soon the bus arrived and the lady fought to get on. What a crowd there was on the bus! Everyone in the district seemed to be going to Hyderabad that day. It was market day and many of the villagers were going to sell their wares in the city.
There were men with baskets and sacks ; women with babies and bags; and children and old people with chickens and ducks. The roof of the bus was piled high with boxes and bags, baskets and sacks, trunks and containers of all shapes and sizes. Somehow, the lady squeezed in. She sat on the edge of a seat next to a very heavy woman, who was holding a large bag on her lap.
Soon the bus began to move. It creaked and groaned; it rattled and clanked. The engine roared and off it went, faster and faster down the road. With some difficulty the lady peered out of the window. She could see the field and trees, and the
shops and the houses besides the road. She was bounced up and down, and when the bus went round a corner, she had to hold on tight. It was not too uncomfortable as she had a nice plump cushan on one side! It was hot and stuffy in the bus and the lady yawned and then fell fast asleep.
After a few minutes, a loud bang woke her. A large box had fallen off the roof of the bus. The bus screeched to a halt and two or three men got out and ran off down the road to fetch it. The passengers all laughed and cheered.
The lady rubbed her eyes and said to herself, ‘I really must stay awake. I have a lot of money in my purse, and if I fall asleep someone might take it’. She carefully opened her purse to check if her money was still there. To her shock and dismay the purse was empty! She put her purse away quickly and sat quietly, thinking about what she shoud do.
She looked at the woman sitting beside her. Her eyes were shut and she was snoring loudly. ‘Aha!’ said lady to herself. ‘I think you are pretending to sleep, my dear. And I think you must have stolen my thousand-rupee note!’
She noticed that the woman’s bag was quite dirty. She also noticed that the woman’s clothes were old and worn. The woman was certainly not rich. She felt sorry for her, but she also felt very cross. She decided not to make a big fuss or call for the police.
Very carefully and quitly, the lady opened the woman’s bag, and there, on top of a large, red handkerchief, lay the thousand-rupee note. She carefully pulled out the note and tucked it away in her purse. When the bus reached Hyderabad, the women and the men, the children and the chickens, the sacks and the boxes and the bags all poured out
of the bus. With some difficulty the lady got out too. She had a wonderful time in the city. She walked up and down the market and stopped to look at the people and the traffic. She gazed at all the wonderful things in the shops and even talked to some of the shopkeepers. She bought lots of things.
The day went by very quickly. Soon it was time to catch the bus home. A young boy helped the lady with her bags and parcels. Luckily, she was early and found a good seat on the bus. She looked around at the people on the bus. She saw faces she knew and many she did not know. One she remembered was that of the woman who was now sitting at the back of the bus, looking very upset, indeed.
In no time at all, the bus arrived at the village. The lady’s husband was there to greet her. Her helped her to unload her bags. Then he scratched his head and looked very puzzled. He started at all the bags and parcels.
‘I see you have bought a lot of things today,’ said the husband. ‘But, where did you get the money?’
‘What a silly question,’ replied the lady. ‘Why, you gave me a thousand-rupee note this morning!’
‘I did,’said the man. ‘But when I got home from the fields, the note was still lying beside your bed where I left it.’
The lady said nothing. She turned and looked at the bus. It was going off at a great speed, leaving behind it a huge cloud of dust and smoke. She now knew why the woman on the bus had looked so upset.
By: Aqsa Riaz