(After the flood at Parana and cyclone at Natal, Brazilian citizens are starving to pay the government 40.5% of their earning as tax to host the Confederation Cup and the World Cup 2014. Huge hike in daily food and transportation costs have lowered the quality of living. There has been a long movement to protest the Brazil government’s huge budget for the World Cup. This story is based on true events.)
I am running down the road with my arms spread, like a bird. I feel I can fly. All I need is just a little push and I’ll fly. I am very sure about that. Mom has sent me to the market to buy some sugar and cinnamon. You know, I love ‘Bolinho de Chuva’. She used to cook for me every single evening. But now it is not that regular for me. When I ask her, she says that our government is busy hosting the FIFA World Cup and they don’t care if I don’t get ‘Bolinho de Chuva’. But you know, I love football and I am very happy that all my favourite players are now in my country. Papa had given me a jersey of our country with Neymar written on its back. I love Neymar. It was my twelfth birthday and Mom made a big cake for me with Lucas written on it. She had also put a magic candle of twelve. Every time I had blown the candle it dimmed but again it had regained its glow. It was very funny.
“Hi! Mr. Bernardo. Good evening!” Mom has taught me that whenever I see a familiar person, I should greet him.
“Hey Lucas, how is your Mom and where are you going?” he asked.
“She is fine. I’m going to market. I don’t have time,” I was too busy running.
I couldn’t hear him. His voice has become weakened gradually. I’ll ask him later.
Mr. Bernardo is our neighbour and he is a lovely person. He always helps us when we don’t have food or kerosene. He had arrived in Brasilia six months ago when Curitiba, capital of Parana, got flooded. He told us stories about how one million people got homeless and how his wife was swept away by the flood water. It made me sad. All I thought that if a flood comes here someday, first thing I’d do is to take my box of collected paper cuttings of football players and my birthday jersey. Mr. Bernardo had a daughter. She was eleven years old and is cute. I liked her curly hair and round eyes. We used to play every day and she never forgot to bring almonds for me. She always knew what I liked. I could feel that I was almost flying and I just wanted to shout out her name at the top of my voice; ‘Adriana’. But I feared if someone would hear me then I might face trouble. They say if I love a girl at such a young age, then I’ll have a horn on my head and I’ll become ugly. But I don’t think I’m an infant. So, I should not worry much.
I am getting late. Markets are not safe anymore. Yesterday I saw a huge mob at the market burning a big picture of the world cup with the Brazilian flag on it. I didn’t understand. They were ransacking shops and stores, burning tyres and throwing stones at the police. The policemen were throwing some kind of cylindrical thing which was emitting foul gas. It made me cry. It was very funny. I somehow escaped from there. Sometimes I think if there is some kind of gas which makes people laugh. Just imagine how the picture would be if the police had thrown that kind of gas. Everyone would throw stones and bombs at each other but with a smile on their faces. Police laughingly would charge with sticks and bombs at people, who also would be laughing. Smiling violent people! It would be ridiculous. They call it a movement. They have named it ‘Brazilian Autumn’. I don’t know why they’ve named it like that. It doesn’t make any sense because it is not autumn here. I wonder if they don’t have any work to do other than walking on street on big lines with large posters.
The other day I saw a group of people walking with a very serious face like they are sad and angry both at the same time. It was very funny. The face was same when we had been cheated in a football match. The poster held by those people read, “THE PARTY IN THE STADIUMS IS NOT WORTH TEARS IN THE FAVELAS”. I didn’t understand. There was no party at the stadiums, only football matches. Only there might be some champagne which is drunk by the winning teams. But the people should not be jealous about that. Another poster said, “GOVERNMENT TAKES 40.5% OF OUR EARNINGS AS TAX TO HOST THE CONFEDARATION & WORLD CUP SPENDING 32 bn REAIS”. I love reais. It is the money in our country like dollar in the USA. I can have anything with enough reais with me. But I don’t know about tax. I shall ask Mom today.
I’m just five minutes away from the market. On the both sides of the road, there are lots of perforated, burned cloths. It is like some kind of battle had been taken place here. I just love battle. It is cool and stylish. I also want to take part in a battle. There are some burned pictures of the World Cup littered here and there. What is their problem? These pictures are meant to be collected. They are awesome. Some kind of smell is always sticking to my nose. I think some people are always burning tyres and plastic. If I stay here a few more minutes then I’ll vomit. I am very sure about that. I can’t run anymore. It is so exhausting and choking here. Ah! I can see the store now.
One, two, three. This should be the change from buying sugar and cinnamon. Today is the big match between Brazil and Cameroon. I got terrified when I saw the match versus Mexico which was a draw. That goal keeper was terrible! He saved every shot. I hate him. He reminds me of Gabriel. He is the goal keeper of our school team. I need to get home soon enough to see the match. I don’t want to miss this match. I must run fast.
I just turned back towards home and there was a huge mob entering the market. Chilled ice is sliding through my spine. I don’t understand. Everyone is so serious that it has made my belly shrink. They are on the way to the main road which must be very busy as the match will start soon. They have started shouting their slogans and ransacking shops suddenly. This is wrong. I just want to go to my Mom. Everybody is running destructing everything on their way. I cannot just go through them but I have to go. So I’ve jump into the mob and try to make my way to the end of the market. Someone puts his booted leg on my toe. I cannot tolerate the pain. I just close my eyes and push forward. But this is of no use. Salty water is falling from my eyes to my lips. I can taste it. Suddenly all the people start shouting more and they run amok. It is like someone has thrown a pebble to a huge gathering of ants around food. The police is here and they are throwing that kind of gas which makes everyone cry. And they are firing some kind of bullet that doesn’t kill a man. It is strange. One bullet has fallen on my foot and I pick it. It is made of rubber. This is ridiculous. Who uses this kind of bullet? Aw! I am hurt. One bullet hit me on my shoulder. It is painful. It hurts so much that I cannot breathe for few seconds. I have fallen on the ground. And I cannot stand up. People are running over me. One has trampled over my knee bones and one over my belly. I cannot feel anything this time. My eyes have gone completely blind. Everything is black. I cannot hear a thing. All I can see is my Mom’s face, Papa’s hand and Adriana. Oh! I love her. I just want to hold any of their hand so that they can pull me up and take me home. I am shouting with top of my voice “I love you Mom and Dad. I love you Adriana”.