Visarat enquired(पूछना) impatiently(अधीरतापूर्वक), looking for the day’s newspaper: Aaj ka paper kahan hai? There was an earnestness(ईमानदारी) in his voice that did not betray(धोखा देना) the restlessness(असहजता) he was feeling right at that moment. I brought the newspapers from my room and placed them in front of him.
“Arre, aap ko check karna hai! Lottery ka result.” He beamed (मुस्कराना)and flashed (चमकाना)the shiny ticket of a lottery.
I finally found it in one of the language newspapers in the bunch(गुच्छा). To me, it appeared cumbersome (दुखदायक) and time-consuming to go through the results. But he stood with hopeful, expectant(आशान्वित) eyes while I checked the first number.
“Nope, it’s not yours. You lost the chance to be in the one-crore club! This is not even close.” He made me double-check for he knows I am bad at numbers and prone (इच्छुक) to making mistakes. Every time, at the end of the month, the milkman complains that the dudh ka hisaab (the milk math) done by madam is wrong.
But this time, I was not wrong. “See, I rechecked. Sorry, you are not the winner. Let’s see the rest of the numbers.” But his lottery ticket number did not figure anywhere. When I came to the last lot of ₹100 cash prizes, I got a little hopeful. The first four numbers matched, but the rest did not. I conceded(झुक जाना) defeat and handed him the ticket.
Waste of money
He puckered (सिलवरे पडना) his lips and moved away. He has been buying lottery tickets for a year. He does not even know how much money he ends up wasting in the hope of winning that one crore that is proudly displayed at the centre of the ticket along with an image of the goddess Lakshmi on one side. The goddess of wealth that promises to transform you from pauper(कंगाल) to king only if she bestows(दान करना) a kind glance (झलक)on you. But for some reason, Visarat had been bereft(दीवाना) of her beneficial glance (झलक )as he looks wistfully (अति आकांक्षा) at the ticket and touches the feet of the goddess, albeit (हालांकि )on paper, expecting something that is out-of-this-world.
He would buy lottery tickets from different vendors (विक्रेता), all the time expecting a miracle (चमत्कार) one day. Miracles do happen, but not the way he is expecting them to. He works hard and sends money to his family every month. This is a miracle of everyday life that he chooses to ignore. If only he saves the money he spends on buying lottery tickets, he will have more of it to be used purposefully. But he would not listen; he wants the crores that are shamelessly (बेशर्मी से) displayed on a piece of paper, enticing (प्रलोभी )the gullible (आसानी से धोखा खा जाने वाला )all the time.
There are thousands of his ilk (एक जैसी) who buy lottery tickets every day in the hope of making a quick buck (हिरन), not realising that life does not serve delicacies (स्वादिष्ट खाद्य )on a platter (परात). If only lottery tickets served as guaranteed entry-points to fame and riches, life would have turned out picture perfect for the buyers.
Meanwhile, Visarat keeps hoping, dreaming, looking expectantly(आशापूर्वक) at the ticket and then glancing far away wistfully (अति आकांक्षा )awaiting the realisation (प्राप्ति) of his grandiose (विशाल और सुंदर) dreams that remain entwined (गुथना) on a piece of paper. He dreams of going to faraway lands, places that he keeps on concocting (योजना बनाना) in his head, and riches that he keeps on piling (ज़ख़ीरा) up in a hopeful zest (उत्साह).
His desires keep multiplying daily as he keeps on wafting (प्रतिध्वनि) in some distant land of caricatured (हास्य चित्र) dreams, and his hopes resonate with achievement.
He might indeed one day become the lucky winner of that lottery and earn the status of stardom (प्रसिद्ध अभिनेता). He is waiting for that day, and till then he keeps on buying one lottery ticket each day.