Diwali Bakshish

The news of my escape from
Delhi’s urbanscape
has reached our postman,
pandering for Diwali bakshish.
He is baring his teeth in lieu of
my generosity. He is keen
on my return, but coy about
his sewa-paani. I oblige.
l ask him about his wife
and kids, pretending
I care about them. We
dance around a bit,
until I offer him two
hundred for his troubles.
He looks at me, like he
would a dead dog on
the street- Maybe more?,
I think. I offer another two,
which he accepts begrudgingly.
I am told these are the ways
of the rich- selfish and miserly.
Yet, I am thanked- to my
great relief.
Our local postman, my
blue-collar moral compass,
prepares to leave- but this
time he is merely grimacing.
He is disappointed in me-
I am failing in middle-class
etiquette. So, I panic and
offer another two

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