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When Mr. Mehta bought a new car, we all went to congratulate him. Though initially, my father did not want to take me along, I compelled him with my loud cries and he had to relent.

When we arrived at his home, we found him proudly staring at the new car. My father said, " Mehtaji, you yourself will drive the car or will keep a driver for it? " At this, he replied casually, " Jha Saab, do you think I will ever be able to drive this elephant? For me, my bicycle is a hundred times better than this. "

Later in the evening, I heard my father say that Mehta uncle had bought this car to present it to his wife on her birthday. He added that he loved her very much and did nothing to destroy her happiness.

My mother, who was a fifth class pass woman from the most famous school in her father's village, did not have a fascination with cars or any other luxury items. She believed that luxury items make one lazy and sick.

Everything was going well until Sharma Aunty visited us one evening. There were all types of conversations between them, but suddenly it turned towards Mehtaji's car. My mother, however, tried to change the direction of the conversation but each time it stopped at Mehta uncle's car.

" Why Nitu... why don't you ask Mr Jha to keep a car in the house? Are you so poor that you can't maintain a car? " she said.

Being soft-hearted and humble it was against my mother's nature to use harsh words and insult anybody on earth. Sharma aunty was well aware of this, and did her best to take advantage of it, and said many things that could alone burn the peace of any house without a matchstick, but seeing her attempt fail to arouse her angst her venomous heart subsided and with an ugly look on her face she left out house. But later we learnt that she had done her work. She had succeeded in prodding and awakening the snake of envy that was so far lying dormant in a corner of mother's mind.

At night, when we all were having dinner, she asked father about his salary. My father was a man of practical. He could know the message written in a letter just by seeing the cover of the envelope. He asked her, " How much do you need ?"

"Just get a new car, like Mehtaji's. What'd I do with your money? "

"Alright... I'll buy a car, but next month, " he said and forgot it. The next month came and went, but the car did not come.

Again one evening, at the time of dinner, she asked him about the car he had promised her.

" Oh... yes! Actually I wanted to ask you about the colour of the car, but owing to business it slipped from my mind, " he said, and again let it go.

As many times my mother asked him questions about the car, so many times he managed to escape it with his sense of wisdom. But one day, it took a very sad turn when my father again tried to defer the purchase of the car he had promised, as mother had declared that she would not put even a straw in her mouth before a car better than Mehtaji's was bought and brought home. She stopped taking food.

When father learnt about this, he at once understood that the snake of envy had gone deep inside her heart, and now it would trouble all. So, he slowly went to her and lovingly taking her hand into his own, and said, " Nitu... of course, I can buy you a car. It's not a big thing, but, I feel it is not the right time for us to have a car, it is the time to work and educate our children." However, if you want, I will get you a car by tomorrow evening. But don't blame me later if I failed to give proper education to our children. "

After all, she was a mother...a brave mother who, since could not see her children in trouble, decided to kill the snake of envy, and she killed it.

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