Ever since I became a mother—of two adorable canines—one of the most overwhelming feelings I experience is the lack of time. I get time to think and reflect only when I’m travelling to and from work. I get immense pleasure from watching the passing façade of things and anticipating what lies ahead on opening the door!
However, all the joyrides are not as predictable. One rain-stained evening, when the skies were purple and gold—I was leaving work early—and if I were to walk, I would have walked with a spring in my step and a twirl of the umbrella. The rains are always good—especially if you have little bundles of joy doing an instant jig in a cloudburst. That used to happen before I decided on giving my kids an education and got them two colourful collars.
My reverie was broken by a little girl who had skipped inside the rickshaw and poked me in the ribs. We were stuck in a traffic snarl. She was little goblin in a frock that reached her ankles—her wiry hair was tied in two ringlets on either side of her apple-shaped head. The head itself was cocked to one side as she hung precariously from the rickshaw, ready to be shooed off. In her hands, she carried full-blown roses. I barely heard what she said, as I took in her rain-soaked sweetness.
“Sirf chaalis rupaiya, didi”, she quipped. I smiled and said, “Tees”. She nodded reluctantly and smiled, which widened as I silently counted the change and gave her four ten rupee notes. She hopped away, leaving behind a bunch of roses.
As we sped past the beaten track, my mind conjured up a strange collage of pretty collars and children decked in ribbons and matching shoes. I wasn’t sure if I just did something that perpetuated child labour or made someone’s day. I wasn’t sure, either, if wearing the signs of civility were quite enough to establish that as an unquestionable fact.
Have you ever wondered about the fallacies that sustain us and the facts that ruin our comfortable lives?
N.B. I don’t see her any more. I wish I did. Or at least cared to ask her name.