It was almost midnight when they reached the toll station. It was a little hut at the foot of a small hillock. There were many bullock carts parked there for the night. Bhim was relieved to see other people.
He asked the cart driver, ‘Can we get water here? We are hungry and thirsty.’
‘Go ask the toll booth operator. But don’t tell him you are Mahars. Try saying you are Muslims instead.’
Bhim decided to follow his advice. He was confident he could speak like a Muslim. He was learning Urdu at school because Mahars were not allowed to learn Sanskrit, the language of the holy Hindu books.
Sadly, the toll booth manager told him rudely, ‘Do you think we keep water for you Muslims here? Go to the village on top of the hill if you want water.’
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