“Ravi, tell him there’s nothing left in the kitchen!” called Rukku Manni. “And he’s not to come again—tell him that!” She sounded fed up.

     Ravi didn’t have to repeat it all to the beggar. What his mother said had been easy for them all to hear, there under the neem tree. The beggar sat up and sighed.

     “I’ll go, I’ll go!” he said wearily. “Only let me have a rest here under this tree. The sun is so hot, the tar has melted on the road. My feet are already blistered.” He stretched out his feet to show large, pink, peeling blisters on the soles of his bare feet.

     “I suppose he doesn’t have the money to buy chappals,” Mridu whispered to Meena–Ravi. “Have you got an old pair in the house somewhere?”

     “I don’t know,” said Ravi. “Mine are too small to fit his feet, or I’d have given them to him.” And his feet were larger than Mridu’s and Meena’s.

     The beggar was shaking out his upper cloth and tightening his dhoti. He raised his eyes and looked fearfully at the road, gleaming in the afternoon heat.

     “He needs something on his feet!” Meena said, her big eyes filling. “It’s not fair!”

     “Ssh!” said Ravi. “I’m thinking about it! Blubbering, ‘it’s not fair, it’s not fair’ isn’t going to help. In two minutes he’ll be frying his feet on that road. What he needs is a pair of chappals. So where do we get them? Come, let’s search the house.” He pushed Mridu and Meena into the house.
Again hearing the beggar's voice, Ravi's mother (Rukku Manni) asked Ravi to tell him that there was nothing left in the kitchen. She was tired and irritated; she told him to inform that the beggar should not come again. Ravi did not have to repeat the same to the beggar because he had heard it himself. Everybody under the neem tree - the beggar and the kids heard what Rukku Manni had called out. The beggar sat and exhaled hard with sadness. He said he would go, but he requested to let him sit under the tree for some time. The scorching heat had melted the tar on the road, and he said his feet had got boils due to the heat. He extended his feet out to show them the large, pink-coloured blisters on the soles of his bare feet.
Pink, peeling blisters on the beggar's feet!
The kids saw his feet. Mridu said in a silent tone to Meena and Ravi that maybe he did not have the money to buy chappals. She asked them if they had any old pair at home to give away to the beggar. Ravi said he did not know if there were any slippers at home. He added his slippers were too small to fit the beggar's feet; otherwise, he would have given his slippers. Same with Meena's and Mridu's slippers, they were all kids, and their slippers would not fit an adult size feet.
The beggar prepared to leave the place by tightening up his dhoti (veshti in Tamil). He shook off the dirt from his upper cloth that he removed from the floor and saw the road with fear - it was reflecting the bright sunshine in the afternoon heat. Meena almost cried and said it was not fair and he cannot go with bare feet. Ravi hushed her and said he was already thinking about it. He said, crying "it's not fair" is not going to help their cause. They had two minutes before the beggar went to the road barefooted. Ravi pushed Meena and Mridu into the house, and he said they could search in the house.
Meanings of difficult words:
fed uptired and unhappy
a small bubble or boil on the skin caused by friction, burning
gleaming reflecting light, especially on a smooth polished surface
eyes fillingwith tears, crying
blubberingcry noisily, sob
National Council of Educational Research and Training (2007). Honeycomb. A Gift of Chappals - Vasantha Surya (pp. 18-32). Published at the Publication Division by the Secretary, National Council of Educational Research and Training, Sri Aurobindo Marg, New Delhi.