Every afternoon at 3 P.M., her big dreamy eyes followed him. From the small frame of the window, standing on her toes, she would watch him proclaim himself, honk and cycle away. Every day those moments filled her with nervousness, hope and despair. But, she would wait again.
When it was not too sunny, she would run to the roof and watch him arrive from the distance, cycling carefree, moving towards her and honk away to someplace else, filling another pair of eyes with dreams.
Often kids would stop him for a while. Orange! Yellow! Brown! Red! they would exclaim and gather around. It looked like a small swarming restless mob. But as soon as he was done with them, he would proclaim himself once or no more, honk his horn once or more. And then he would carry on his ride, disappearing in the summer whirlwinds.
Orange and yellow and brown and red, she would remember how they appeared from the box. She knows, he carries the secret of the rainbows but every day he would come and go, leaving her behind in despair.
And then one Sunday afternoon, her father left for the market while her mother was asleep. Alone she stood, holding onto the window sill. Her eyes imagined him honk, proclaim and cycle soon. But he did not come! At last her toes gave away and she came inside disappointed.
In the room she started playing with her father's clothes, wearing, throwing and twirling them when a 10 rupee note fell on the ground. A child, four years old, but she recognized it. It was dark in the room but her mother was sleeping nearby. She looked at her deep in slumber and slowly she clutched and hid the note in her little palms and ran away. Finally her dream will come true!
Restless as her thoughts were, made even more so by the noise she recognized so well. There from the distance she saw him come, honking and proclaiming and cycling towards her. The excitement in her breaths was too much to contain for her. She ran out of the house and a little further to avoid her mother in case she wakes up and then she waved towards the cycle like she had seen other children do all these days. The cycle stopped in front of her,
"What do you want my little girl?" asked the old man.
"Orange!" she almost shouted in excitement and forwarded the 10 rupee note.
The old man opened the box and searched inside taking out Red and Yellow and Brown while her cheerful eyes looked on with curiosity. At last he found the Orange bar and handed it to her with the change.
As soon as she tasted it, the chill dripping orange ice bar, her tongue was colored one with it. It was the sweetest taste and the most beautiful color in the world! Accidentally, she cut a piece of the orange bar and it melted on her tongue chilling her mouth up to the brain until she couldn't stop her giggles anymore. Seeing her happy, the old man proclaimed himself once and no more, honked his horn once and more, he passed a smile to the girl and cycled away.
As he left, she got fearful that her mother might be searching for her. Running towards the house, happy and afraid, savouring the best sweet in the world and coloring her tongue, as soon as she reached near the gate, she saw her father coming back from market and waving towards her. Frightened she threw the change in her hands and the orange bar in the pit near the gate and saw it melting away. When father reached her, she was full of tears in her eyes. Seeing her orange lips and mouth, he smiled and took her in his arms.
"You are the girl I love. My orange sweet girl."
He caressed and tickled her until she started giggling and laughing again and both went back home.