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The First Poor Person in the World

 I hide inside my blanket and listen to the rain knocking on my window panes. Flu always makes me want to hide somewhere dark and warm. A hangover from my prenatal life, I guess. 

Omar comes and snuggles into my bed. “You are so boring! Why are you sleeping?” he asks.

“Yes, boring and not well,” I murmur from inside my cocoon.

“What should I do?” Omar asks and then defines the boundaries within which my answer should fall, “just don’t tell me to do these three things: sleep, eat, study.”

This is Omar’s standard question. A constant refrain that we hear throughout the day and, if he is awake, at night too.

“Okay. Maybe you can stand upside down and look at the world in a new way,” I say and emerge from the darkness of my shell to face Omar’s glare.

“It works,” I tell him from my own experience.

“No, suggest something else. I am bored.”

“Listen to the rain and think about the children who don’t have a warm bed to snuggle into,” I try to change the track of his thoughts.

The comment makes him pause for a while. He thinks and then asks, “Why are some people poor?”

“Because some of us have more than our share of wealth.”

“But tell me how it all started. Who was the first poor person?” he asks

Omar’s questions often make me acutely aware of my limited knowledge.

“I don’t know,” I confess.

“If I only had the time machine! I would go back and find out and then stop that person from getting poor. It will easier to do so with just one person. No?”

“I think so.”

He again ponders for a while and then comes up with a thesis that explains poverty.

“It is all because of money,” he says.


“Because the rich have the money and the poor don’t. If nobody had it then everybody would be equal,” he explains.

My constant sneezing has muffled my brain, but I try to understand Omar’s logic.

“I have read that people used to live in caves. When I look at the pictures of cave people, they all look the same. There were no rich or poor people because then there was no money. Everybody could pick fruits from the forests and eat,” Omar supports his thesis and then declares:

“I think the cave period was the best. It must have been so much fun, and you didn’t have to study,” Omar says and then hops out of the bed. Probably he has figured out what he wanted to do. Perhaps he has decided to build a time machine.

Maybe Omar would allow me to test drive it. I also need to find out a few answers and relive certain moments.

Till that happens I will hide inside my own dark places ‘so much nearer home.’


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