Jamie is back :p… do not ask why I posted after such a long time… I will not be able to answer you :)…
(Hope Pingieeee is gappyyy)
“Can you lend me a few rupees, Ma’am?”
The feeble voice that sounded near the window of my car was almost drowned by the noise of the evening traffic, but was audible enough to get my attention. The mention of money triggered in my mind a natural wish to ignore the call. It was so common to see beggars at the signal, I had almost trained my mind to avoid them without much concern. But there was something in that request that made me turn toward its source.
There was a little boy standing before me. I tried to read his age, and guessed he could not be more than six. I judged it by his height, his face was not very clear, thanks to the poor lighting in the road.
“Why do you want money?” I must have been out of mind, asking this question to a child beggar. I asked him first, before I asked myself, something I had never done before.
“I want to buy flowers for my dog, Ma’am.”
I felt a bit irritated. I thought of my long but busy day at work, the kids who would be home by now, waiting for Amma to come back and make their dinner, my husband who was probably on his way home right now… and here I was, listening to a silly request from a child who could not find anything more important to do than buy flowers for his dog. A dog that fancies flowers??? I needed to break away from this!
I turned my eyes toward the road in front of me. The boy, who seemed to have noticed that I had lost interest, pleaded, this time in a more audible voice “Please, Ma’am”
I decided to work off my possible guilt by reaching into my purse and picking out a few coins. That was all I had to do. Or so I thought…
“Can you give me a ride home, Ma’am?”
I almost dropped the coins in my hand. I recovered from my shock as quickly as I had got into it. I should have guessed this much. I was perhaps the first person to stop and listen to this boy. So, as is the case with all poor children, comply with a request, only to have it immediately topped by another. My mind raced again to my home, and I glanced at my watch.
“It is only two kilometers away, Ma’am. I am too tired to walk.”
He seemed quite harmless. And two kilometers will not take too much of my time. But was it right to help this child?
Seeing no possible reason as to why it could go wrong, I decided to let the child in. I opened the door of my car and let him sit in the seat next to me. I could not let him sit in the backseat. I wanted to keep him within my sight. I still had my doubts.
Once he was comfortably seated, I leaned a little to my right to get a good look at his features. A sudden wave of shock swept over me!
These was a big burn on the left side of his face. I found it quite repulsive. What had I got myself into?
The boy seemed to have read my thoughts. “It’s okay, Ma’am. A lot of people feel that way.”
I did not know if I should have been feeling right or wrong at that moment. But it was hard to get out of the situation, so I started the car, and let the boy direct me the route to his home.
It was a short drive, but seemed to take ages. I did not speak a word to the boy, except for acknowledging that I understood his directions.
He seemed to know his way well, making me stop at a florist shop. It looked quite posh, by his standards. I walked in with him. It looked like a good place to shop for flowers. But considering my company, this would probably be the first and last time I would be able to show my face here.
“That little rose…” the boy looked at me, with a crooked smile. A smile that seemed so creepy, my heart stopped for a second.
I almost snatched the flowers that he asked for, paid the bill, and hurried out, lest I run into someone I know, and become the laughing stock of all my friends.
I started driving again. In about ten minutes, the boy made me stop at a little ground, in the middle of which was a small house. I stepped out of my car, half wishing I had not paid heed to the boy at the traffic signal. My mind went back to my family again.
I just stood there, the boy standing beside me. I was staring at the distance and expecting a dog to come running out any second, for its flowers. Sensing in a few seconds that nothing of the sort was going to happen, I turned down to see the boy. My heart stopped for a second, as it had at the store. That creepy smile again!
He held my hand. I did not know why I was letting myself into all this, but before I knew what was happening, the boy was leading me to a corner of the ground.
Here I was, alone with a mysterious little boy, whom I did not even trust very much, flowers in my hand, in the corner of a ground with no soul in sight. At least not as far as I could see…
“There is my dog, Ma’am. You can give me the flowers now, I will give it to him.”
I squinted my eyes to see where the dog was. I had no problem with my vision. I was sure there was no dog there, or any other living being there for that matter. I turned toward the boy to ask him where his dog was. But the words never came out of my mouth. He had already been pointing, I knew where, and I did not want to see…
He was pointing toward a little mound of earth.
I closed my eyes that night, in the comfort of my home, where there would be no mysterious little boys, with strange requests. I said a little prayer of thanks to God, for making me stop that night, and showing me, the youngest teacher in my life.