I decided to walk back home from the station since I had reached much before my usual time. It was the usual chaos on the street – crowded streets, traffic jams, blaring horns, screaming street vendors – loads of noise. And the usual remedy to the maddening noise is to shut it out with music from my iPod.
I was enjoying watching the pandemonium playing in mute, as I slithered through whatever little space which was available on the road. Finally, I was not thinking about anything but just walking. It had been a while since I manage to empty my mind. It was barely three songs before I reached my building, but I didn’t want to go. I decided to walk further away from home.
On my directionless stroll, I spotted three street urchins, cute little kids, between the ages of three to eight. In tattered clothes and unwashed bodies, they seemed to be a happy bunch. They had found their own little game with a few pebbles and self-created rules. But it didn’t matter to them as long as they were having fun. In the middle of the game, they would remember that they were not here to play but beg – for money, clothes, food, anything which helps them get through the day. They asked me too, I could make out from the movement of their lips. They seemed to be shaping the words “Sa’ab ek rupiya de do na.(sir, give me a rupee please)” One of them insinuated the other to touch my feet, which she did. But I didn’t give them money. I kept walking until she gave up.
Around a corner, I saw a grocery store. I had to buy a few items for home, so I stepped in. After having mentally cross checked the memorized list, I approached the cash counter. The thought of those kids struck my mind again, so I got an additional packet of biscuits. It was but a feeble attempt to wash away the guilt due to the stone heartedness I had shown to them.
On my way back, I stopped over and gave it them. I told them “Baantke khaana.(share it amongst yourself)” They smiled. Seeing the bread in my bag, the other one asked, “bread milegi.” I told her “Yeah ghar ke liye hai. Sorry.”
I don’t think I needed to explain to her, but I felt obliged. I don’t think I said sorry because I was sorry for what I did, but because I felt sorry for them.
“Sorry is a funny word”, I said to myself. Once again, my mind was brimming with thoughts.