It was a usual summer morning in the small town of Agner in 2004. However, for Ghungroo, a very fortunate day, to say the least. As he woke up with a start to his alarm clock, he quickly turned on the radio. They were to announce the winner of the Bumper Lottery of the week. Pulling up his lanky frame hurriedly from the bed, he took out the ticket from the pant pocket.
The radio jockey, who sounded like he had won half the lottery prizes himself, started announcing euphorically-
“…..and the first prize of Rupees 2 lakhs has been won by ticket no. 2 4 3 ………….”
Ghungroo listened with bated breath as the first three digits matched with his ticket.
“…….. 5 9 3……”
“Yes! Yes! Yes!” Ghungroo pumped his fist as the rest of the three digits matched too. He quickly finalized his plan for going on that much-awaited trip to see the leaning Tower of ‘Pizza’.
In the 90s when globalisation was taking the country in its grip, Ghungroo tasted Pizza for the first time. Still at primary school, he was elated to taste this new cuisine. And as luck would have it, their GK teacher taught them about leaning tower of Pisa, around that time.
“Children, say aloud after me…..
Leaning Tower of Pisa,
Hanging garden of Babylonia…..” bellowed the teacher.
Blame it on the teacher’s tobacco stuffed mouth or Ghungroo’s preoccupied mind with thoughts of pizza- he wrote down excitedly ‘leaning tower of Pizza’.
After the class was over, he tiptoed towards his teacher and with twinkling eyes, he asked, “Sir….. ermm…. Pizza….”
The teacher, who was engrossed in the radio station airing India-Pakistan match, replied irritatedly, “What pizza?”
“You said leaning tower of Pizza? Where is it?”
The teacher laughed mockingly, “Yes, BIG tower of Pizza, leaning to fall in your mouth. It’s in Italy. Now just bug off kid.”
From then, every day a gullible natured Ghungroo dreamed of travelling to Italy to see the leaning tower of Pizza. He didn’t even see photos of the place lest it would spoil the surprise element of the first visit. Being from a middle-class family he had to rely on lottery tickets to try his luck.
He had been saving from his rations of pocket money to buy the weekly tickets. His family members were unaware of his blind obsession. He had not confided for fear of getting admonished.
It took a lot of coaxing of his parents before he left for a trip to Italy with the prize money. On the second day of the trip, they finally visited his dream destination.
The guide shouted at the top of his voice, “LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, HERE IS THE LEANING TOWER OF PISA.”
Ghungroo was stunned and blurted through his gaping mouth, “But where is Pizza……”
The guide gave him a perplexed look, “Pizza!!!”
“Ermm…. I’m hungry…. Was looking for some pizza to eat…?” Mumbled Ghungroo with a hiccup.
Photo By: Anna Church
This is an entry for #TheLie #Five00-8, a room8 writing event –in 500 words.
Check out the event guidelines here: https://artoonsinn.com/room8/thelie
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