I was always hesitant while eating his rotis (bread). My mother had told me not to eat anything from him, as he belongs to lower caste. But I never found anything wrong in his rotis, plus my hunger never allowed me to deny him. He was one and only friend of me in the village. His hut was adjacent to our house and his father used to work in our farms. He also contributed in few duties at our farms like grazing our cattle and maintaining our garden. For the kid like me who spend their whole day in boring books and non-happening school, his life was fantasy- close to the nature and free from the burden of study. So I always accompanied with him in spite of my mother’s disagreement. I used to do all type of childhood fun with him – playing gilli-danda, swimming in the pond, roaming in guava garden and buffalo ride.
His mother gave him six roti everyday when he left the home for grazing our cows and buffaloes. He ate these roti in the afternoon while cattle were resting in the pond. I joined him right after my breakfast in morning and returned at home in evening only. He gave one of roti from his lunch to me, and that fat and dry roti was enough to kill my hunger till evening. Due to lower caste concept, I was a bit uncomfortable while eating roti, but my mind never found a reason to not accepting roti from him. All I thought was to eat this roti so that there will be no need to return home for lunch. The only difference I found in his roti, it was dry and thick as compare to roti at my home. But he solved this difficulty too; he took little butter with him and put it on the roti given to me. He asked me not to say anything about butter to his mother. On the return of this favor, I asked him not to say anything about roti to my mother. On the foundation of mutual belief, we were enjoying the fun of our friendship.
After few years, I got busy in my higher study and hardly got time to come at village. He also moved with his family to some other place. Initially I tried to find him but I didn’t get any clue. I got busy in my life and locked the friendship of childhood in the rooms of memory only. I never recalled him until that day came. I went to the famous restaurant of our town with few clients and my bosses. Our health conscious clients ordered the menu with less spices, less vegetable oil and no butter. The time when our order had arrived, we found one butter roti in the basket. My bosses raised the concerns to the waiter who took our order, and he came with another guy who prepared our order in the kitchen. That guy raised his finger at me and said he thought I need butter roti. I looked at his face closely and felt I had seen him somewhere. The nerves of brain put some pressure in head and I recalled that he was my childhood buddy. My heart filled with similar happiness that veteran heroes felt in old movies when they found their lost siblings. I wanted to hug him but I found myself hesitant to do so in front of these so called high class people. I said my bosses that I mentioned him about butter roti but somehow I forgot about it. He went to kitchen and we got busy in enjoying our dinner. I still felt hesitation in eating his roti as I was recognized but not greeted him the way he deserved. My bosses and clients were kept on talking about money and business, but all I was thinking that he still remembered that I could not eat dry rotis.