Stories

The Tea Stall

The wind howled eerily and the leaves of trees rustled vigorously outside. It sounded as though it was raining, but it wasn’t. The only window of the room lost against the strength of the wind as it crashed open, sending a jolt to the young boy who was sleeping on the hard, cold gravel flooring. Dust, sand and scraps of white paint from the ceiling above littered around him. He looked over to his younger sister who was shivering, hands cupped between her thighs. He pushed his woollen blanket towards her and tucked her in, then hugged her tightly thereafter, embracing in each other’s warmth for another fifteen minutes. “Thank you Fawad bhai[1],” his sister whispered in a mumble as she yawned back to sleep. The young boy slowly loosened his embrace and stood up to make his way to the window sill.

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Thoughts

What is your religious belief of not eating beef?

Alright. Don’t come at me for this article after what I’ve written. It’s a truth that is being hidden from all of us, or rather, not hidden. We just don’t take the effort to find out.

So why can’t I try a piece of steak?

The most common reasons I’ve heard from all my Hindu friends, relatives and the parental unit was, “it is a religious belief”. I questioned, “what exactly does it mean?” My mother told me once that because milk was very valuable for Indians – we drink lots of tea, Hindus bathe the statues of the Gods and Goddess with milk, milk is used to clean the resting place of the Guru Granth Sahib in the Golden Temple – it is therefore important to respect the cow for offering us this “blessing”. That didn’t seem to be a “religious” oriented belief. It seemed practical. It seemed rational. Save the cows. Get your milk.

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