Little Humans…

Contributed by: Angana Prasad
Dated: 10th th Jan, 2016

While big things were happening at work in the past couple of months, I found my little moments of deep emotions fleet past me. This one will be an effort to capture those moments from fading away…

Krishna

He has cerebral palsy. He can’t talk clearly, but understands everything. He had been following our wall painting event through the day. Kept refusing to join us. He finally came and sat next to me whiel I began painting a hop scotch section on the floor. On his own he picked up a dried brush and began dusting the dirt off my track, like he had seen another person do. I asked him yet again to join me with the painting and he responded. He held my hand and we began painting the floor together…

We went back to that shelter in a few days time to spend some quality play time with the children. Almost all the boys were out in the courtyard already and greeted us with excited smiles and tight handshakes. While I was busy greeting them, he came running from his room, hugging me tight from behind, looking up and smiling, then hugging me back from the front, rubbing his head against me like a little baby… I guess I now know what motherly feelings feel like…

Kajal

Always the brightest kid in her lot, she had a very natural leadership quality in her and is fiercely loyal.

Yesterday, when I cut my birthday cake with her group, she was upset she couldn’t eat since she was fasting for the Navratris… “didi, I really want to keep my share in the fridge. My fast will be over in another 2 days. I’ll eat it then…” I tried resonating with her that there is a good chance it gets spoilt. She said “it doesn’t matter. I will take a bite of the spoilt cake if I have to, but I want to keep my share…” There was this immense need in her voice and her eyes to freeze the moment and not let it go. After all, ‘it was our first birthday together’.

And then I got to know, she never took out the Frisbee she had got from one of our events… probably she was holding on too tight to the one experience which she was scared she might never get again… or probably she had kept it for using sometime later, don’t know…

Saloni

I’d always seen her walk around the shelter home in a rush. She seemed really shy. Every time we had an eye contact, I would greet her with a Namaste and she would respond with a shy giggle and run back to her room at an even faster pace.

I saw her yesterday again, and this time, I maintained a straight face and didn’t greet. She shyly joined her hands to greet me. I called her to come and sit next to me. She did. Then she said she wanted to play tag and we did that for 2 minutes, running around like mosquitoes all over the shelter home and she finally disappeared inside her room. I didn’t go after her, had a session to take care of. In some more time, I saw her play with a set of headphones. She put the ear pieces on and stuffed the rest of the wire inside her kurta and began shaking her head as if she was listening to some rock music, till she caught my eyes following her and she jumped up and threw her headphone away and disappeared into her room yet again.

I didn’t know if I was sad, happy, amused or simply clueless with what just happened. All I can think of is that maybe she was imitating what she had seen people around her do or perhaps she was creating her own music, which didn’t require a phone or an mp3 player to be attached to the other end of the wire…

Amjad

It will take me a really long while to get over what effect this boy’s words had on me…

He is barely 11 or 12, stays in a slum majorly dwelled by Bangladeshi migrants, who also make for most of the rag pickers and menial laborers of the city. Yet, he manages to be the most neatly dressed child in that area. One fine day, we saw him walk towards the main road in a bit of a rush, right after our session got over. We figured out that he was running back to his job at a dhaba at the side of a road. We managed to talk to him the next day. He said he was working for that particular month, so he could save enough money for a new set of clothes and chappals to wear for Eid. But I argued that his education is more important that his new clothes, so he should stop working and get back to school. He, very calmly replied- “…Wouldn’t one rather have enough options to dress neatly to school and study happily for the rest of the year at the cost of a month’s schooling, than to be shabbily dressed and not feel like going to school at all and losing out on more days just because they have  no other option to dress up better…” The maturity with which he said, I of course was at a loss of words. I don’t know for sure if he had only outspoken me or if I actually felt like one of those outsiders who think they have it all  sorted out and is here to change the lives of people based on their own one-dimensional thinking…