I am part of a race. This race is called “early morning race against my soul”. Race to achieve something. It’s race against time. I pick my laptop bag daily and rush to get the auto. I have to reach office in an hour (if not I would get late and possibly be judged as a late-comer).
Today I was damn irritated because I was late by 10-15 mins. Thankfully, I got the auto at the gate of my society and on top of it, he was ready to go to the metro station. Wow, gods are with me today. I was just hoping that I don’t get stuck at any signal but sometimes you don’t get all what you desire.
I was trying all means to avoid seeing her. That 9-10 year old girl with torn rugged clothes, dirty hair and not so tolerable body odor. I don’t know why she always comes near my auto somehow and asks for a 10 rs note. Sometimes I thought does she follow me (stupid heart, it can think beyond imagination). What business a street beggar would have in following me. But strangely, I wasn’t seeing her since last 3 days. “Acha hi hai (Thank god)”. I told myself.
Like last 3 days, today also I was at peace that the girl wasn’t there. It was a 3 minutes signal and I don’t know why I looked outside of auto. Why??? She would see you idiot (I told myself). But my eyes did not support me. Strangely, they were looking for her. I couldn’t see her, suddenly a not so comforting restlessness started to creep inside . It was 30 seconds to signal. But I wasn’t comfortable. I got down from the auto and started searching for her. Suddenly I saw a lady at a distance, she also appeared a beggar to me as she was leaning in front of every car window with smile and hope for some money probably!!
I rushed to her and asked about the girl. Initially she wasn’t able to identify but then I gave her the description of that girl I am looking for. She said, “Acha woh Sneha, Ha nayi nayi aayi hai abhi.. (Oh, that Sneha, Yeah she is new to the business)”. She identified her and guided me to the nearby slum where that girl lived. I wouldn’t describe the place (no reasons needed).
I went to a small dorm and I was not ready for what I saw next. That girl was lying unconscious and there was a small boy sitting besides her trying to wake her up. I asked the lady about what happened to her. She said “sahab, 3 days se bukhar tha, shayad behosh hogi (Sir, she had fever since last 3 days, so she might be unconscious)”. I asked her if there is anyone who would know her. I got to know that they are two siblings only.
I went near her thinking of taking her to hospital and my heartbeat stopped the moment I touched her. Her body was cold. She was dead. I felt darkness in front of my eyes and I lost my senses for a minute. The lady asked me “kya hua sahab, mar gayi kya yeh. Ruko bulati hu body uthane walo ko. Dhandhe ke waqat time kharab (What happened, Is she dead?)
Her words were bitter but were a result of helplessness and strength which probably she was carrying within to fight the poverty. I stopped her. I called the ambulance and handed over the body to them. I took the boy along with me and came home. My wife tried to speak to me the entire day but I couldn’t say a word untill the boy came to me and asked “Didi kaha hai, bhukh lagi hai (When will my sister return?. I am hungry)”.
I couldn’t stop my tears and cried profusely hugging him and I told him that “Beta, ab didi ab nai aayegi and aap humare paas rahoge (Your sister wont return now and you would stay with us)”. And then I heard a voice “main hu na teri didi (I am your sister, I am here)”. It was my 10 years daughter and I saw a glimpse of that girl besides my daughter smiling at me.
I was happy that my daughter understood the real meaning of love, empathy and emotions!!
Happy writing friends!!!