September 20, 2008

life in general: a little girl's mesmerising smile

Life on the city's streets for those who have no choice but to make them their homes can hardly be considered as ideal. I traverse Bombay's streets by foot a lot and I get to encounter these homeless people who have made the streets their homes. Rarely do I fail to experience a kind of distressing feeling when I observe them at close quarters.

So was it today (actually yesterday, Friday, as I am writing this at 0114 hours of Saturday) but with a difference. It was about 2.30 pm. I was in Nariman Point (in south Bombay) on work and was walking by the road outside NCPA when I saw a little girl who must be about 3 years old standing by a streetside railing. Besides her was her little brother who must be about one and a half years. They were alone, their parents and others from their group must have been a bit away from that spot.

Anyway, I had to cross the road at the spot where they were standing. It is not unusual for me to want to strike a conversation with little children and as I was waiting to cross the road (on most Bombay roads the traffic is so heavy that you have to wait for anywhere between 15 seconds to 150 seconds to cross them) I watched the little girl closely. She noticed me watching her and looked at me.

I smiled at her and asked her what her name was. She smiled back and said 'Laxmi'. I stood there mesmerised. Such was the charm in her smile! I smiled again at her and by now her little brother was blabbering something at me. My attention shifted to him for a while. My heart went out for that little girl and I felt a tinge of pain for this lovely little girl who was smiling at a stranger. They were not even asking for money as is the case with many.

I told them 'bye' in English and the little girl just smiled again. Her little brother actually caught the word and muttered 'bye' to me! I crossed the road and on reaching the other side I turned back to look at the little girl. She was watching me. I waved a 'goodbye' to her. She gave me that mesmerising smile yet again and waved back.

This is not the first time I have got a chat going with street children but there was something about this little angel, Laxmi, that makes me go melancholic when I think of her. I don't know if I will get a chance to see her again. I so much wanted to chat with her more but I have to be conscious of the fact that society gets very suspicious when an adult male stranger talks to little girls who are alone and so I do not stretch the chat to beyond a minute or so lest it get interpreted wrongly by others around.

May our universal energy shower its brightest blessings on this little angel!

Let me share something personal and very close to my heart. I try to limit the number of my desires but there is one that has persisted for a long long time. It is my desire to have a daughter on whom I can shower lots & lots of love! Though I was married twice (the last one broke up 8 years back) there was no child in either (both lasted only for 18 months each). In fact, when things were going very awry in my first marriage (1994-95) and my wife and I were trying to patch up for I used to tell my wife that we should have a daughter. Sadly, that was not to be as we broke up a month later. I continue to await a potential future wherein a little girl holds my hand with her tiny fingers as I am walking with her in a nature trail and exclaims excitedly "Daddy, look! A golden butterfly!"

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