Just another story….

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The story of a child who was just as normal as us… Is as normal as us but understood life way beyond and much before we could…

I sat in a tea stall waiting for my tea and pakodaas and there I saw this kid of 8-9 year old wiping the tables so meticulously. It seemed he had been trained well enough how to prepare the tables for the next lot of customers. No wonder, kids his age falter and in fact, don’t even bother to set their stuffs properly. But this kid did… And yes he must have gone through lot of rash treatment by the owner of the tea stall… For the owner, business mattered the most…for the kid, filling his empty stomach with a bread (roti), mattered the most…

He was promised a roti and some money for which he was working so diligently and sincerely. A lean boy barely any flesh clinging to his bones…yet no sign of remorse ..no sign of complain…no sign of pain on his face…

In that scorching heat all he could do was work for that roti promised to him.
I wondered where his parents were… Perhaps he was left alone, siblings employed likewise in some other places… Or may be as the usual way goes here …parents belong to the group where parenting is no duty…the group that produces offsprings to satiate the financial need no matter what it takes…

Thoughts kept flooding me as I sat there watching the kid and empathising him… Meanwhile I could hear bitter words of the owner scorning at the kid’s back … No doubt it must be pinning his ears…but he kept working…for the sake of the promise made to him… Each time the owner threatened of not fulfilling the promise, the kid would panic and work harder like a poor donkey.

Finally my tea and pakodaas arrived and I sat there still. I couldn’t be of much help to this kid who had lost his childhood, dried up his tears for the sake of roti. But I couldn’t help myself either by remaining still. I called upon the boy. He came rushing with the thought of serving a customer’s need. I smiled at him and asked his name. With a shallow voice he uttered his name. I asked him to join me for the snacks. He denied at first but eventually, with lot of hesitation he sat beside me. I gave him the tea and pakoda he had got. Without much words, he silently started nibbling at the food.

To my utter surprise his eyes were turning red and welling up while having the food.

It literally made me skip my heart beat and I felt so unfortunate for the fate of this kid. No matter how much you aid him financially, the drunkard father would exploit the kid for all the money he earns the very day. His morsel of bread will be pounced upon by his hungry siblings. He needed comfort. He needed food, friend, care and love to heal the pain he has concealed in his heart. His bruises were getting fresh with each bite of food and the pain being felt clearly. I didn’t want him to break apart. So I didn’t say much but I kept visiting the tea stall  often to spend my time and give the kid some comfort in life.

What did I get out of that?
Well…I could see a ray of smile on his face each time I stopped by.

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