something i saw today…

I had been sitting in that bus for hours now… no, I am exaggerating. But it seemed like hours, the bus hadn’t moved in a really long time. there was a long line of white buses ahead of us (and behind us), all unmoving, all spoiling the morning mood of over a thousand employees. It was hot and humid, in a most Bangalore ’13 kinda way. I was watching the girl sitting next to me, sleeping peacefully. I envy her. I look out the window at the slum dwellings.  A girl came out of one of the doors holding a broom. She looked about eight years old. She was wearing a long brown silk skirt, that had probably seen grander days. She had an expression on her face that I couldn’t quite read. It was not anger, or sadness. It was something in between. It was a kind of frustration mingled with hopelessness. Suddenly she threw the broom down and went and sat on a rusted chair next to the door of her house. She looked dismayed. In a way that children do when parents fail to fulfill some promise. A child was sitting on the ground next to the chair. He looked about six years old, maybe younger. He looked up at the girl, who was probably his sister, patted her shoulder and picked up the broom from where the girl had dropped it. The broom looked about as big as him, and he clearly had a difficult time trying to sweep the ground. He swayed it back and forth, only to realize he wasn’t doing a good job – there was a big flattened out cardboard box in his way, and he would have to move it.  There was one problem – the cardboard box was bigger than him. Nearly twice his height. But he still made the effort. The expression on his little face was so determined that he would have moved mountains for his sister if it made her happy. As he picked up the cardboard box, he lost his balance. He stumbled, but steadied his little self. At this point, our bus decided to wake up and move a little, but just enough to remove the brother and sister out of my sight. I would like to imagine that the sister’s bad mood vanished at the sight of her brother trying to help her out, and she went back to her chores with a smile on her face. (I would actually like to imagine that kids of that age should not have chores at all. Instead of a broom, there should have been a book or slate or something in their hands) Nevertheless, what the tiny brother did so willingly for his sister was so touching. Reminded me so much of my brother…

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