The Street Urchin
inside and rest now, you have been out for a long time now,” called
Mrs. Srivastav from the window. “Coming Ma” replied Kanika regretfully.
She had been playing with two of her friends, Suparna and Anupriya
in the ground outside her house. Her friends stayed nearby and went
to School together. They were all 11 years old and in class six.
Suparna was a quiet girl with ling shapely eyes and had two long
plaits hanging behind her. She was the tallest among the friends.
Anupriya had short curls and was chubby and chirpy. Kanika was the
most talkative of all three and even when at home; she was perpetually
on the phone with one of the other two. She was quite skinny, impulsive
and wanted nice things to eat all the time.
Every evening her
mother saw to it that the three girls had different treats at tea
which mostly took place at six thirty in the evening in the little
verandah overlooking the ground where they played. “Oh! Aunty, samosas,”
chirped Anupriya! I really love them, thanks! They are very tasty
Aunty,” spoke Suparna quietly. “Baby, pass the chutney to your friends,”
smiled Milee, the maid who was the cook too. “Oh Milee! How do you
make such lovely samosas? I want to eat them everyday!” said Kanika
laughingly. “Ok baba, I’ll make them again soon. Now try these Jam
biscuits and Walnut cookies too. They are straight from the oven!”
Right then Kanika
noticed a small boy of about four or five, wandering in the ground
opposite their house. He looked sad, sick and hungry with tattered
clothes and it seemed he had been crying too. She got up to see
more clearly while the others looked towards the boy too. Just then
the boy collapsed under the big Mango tree exhausted without food
or water. Kanika ran towards the boy shouting, “What’s happened
little boy? Tell me”. Anupriya and Suparna followed too with Kanika’s
mom and Milee right behind.
When they all reached
the tree, they saw that the little boy had fainted. Milee ran back
towards the house and got water in a glass. “Move away Missy baba,
let some air come”, said Milee in a calm voice. She sprinkled some
drops of water on the boy’s face and he steered and opened his eyes.
Apparently he got scared and stood up, moving away. Sarla, Kanika’s
mom said “No need to be scared little boy, we won’t hurt you. Come
here and tell us what happened.”
The boy stared at
the group and started crying. Milee went up to him and pulling him
close whispered “Hush boy, tell me what has made you cry?” The boy
still crying glanced at her still face and held her hand saying
nothing. “Are you hungry little one?” asked Milee. The boy silently
nodded his head. “Come on, let’s go to the house and give him something
to eat” Chorused the three friends. On returning to the house, Milee
took the little urchin to the tap at the far end of the garden and
washed his hands and face, then made him sit under the corner tree
and gave him a glass of milk first. The boy gulped the contents
of the glass in one go as if he hadn’t had any nourishment since
quite a few days. Milee also gave him two samosas and some cookies
which he finished in no time. After the boy had eaten, Kanika went
up to him and said “tell us what your name is?”
This time the boy
smiled and said Bunty. After a little coaxing by Sarla, the boy
came out with his little sad story. It seemed he had come to this
town from his village with his parents a few days back. While crossing
a busy road one day, he lost his parents in an accident. He was
saved because he had run between the fast moving traffic to the
other side but his parents were not used to so many vehicles on
any of the village roads and were crushed under a lorry.
Now he had no where to go and nothing to eat. After listening to
the boy’s tale of woe, Milee burst into tears and clutching little
Bunty to her heart, she exclaimed “You don’t have to feel lost anymore
dear, because I’m going to look after you.” She turned to her employer
and wiping her tears, said “Is it ok Mem Saab? At last God has answered
my prayers and sent me a son and I’m going to be a mother after
so much waiting.”
Milee was a widow
with no children. In her seven years of marriage with Jeet Bahadur,
her husband who died recently after a short illness. It was Kanika
who answered for her mother, who was too busy trying to calm down
an over excited Milee. “Sure Milee, you shall have a son from to
day who will call you mummy”. Milee took Bunty I her lap and walked
happily towards her little cottage at the back of the house.
Next day, Bunty came
to the house and watched Kanika getting read to board the school
bus. He was fascinated by her colourful school bag, plastic pink
lunch box and green water bottle. He wanted to know what was inside
each container and Kanika patiently explained the usage of each
object to him.
Just then, Milee came
with a glass of milk for Kanika. She took it and sat at the table,
then said “Mom, isn’t Bunty going to have milk too?” “Sure dear,
he will. Milee get another glass of milk for Bunty.” Ok, Mem Saab,
thank you”. “Arey, what’s there to thank me for Milee, milk is a
necessity for growing children”. After kanika had gone to School,
her mother was in the kitchen helping Milee cut vegetables for lunch.
Suddenly she looked up from the table and where she was sitting
and said, “Milee, I was thinking, why don’t you send Bunty to the
school near by which has classed till class eight. It is just round
the corner, the fee is nominal, and it has a good atmosphere where
Bunty will meet children his age.
That will be good
for him. He will have company, will learn reading and writing and
together with getting a good education, he will also learn about
friendship and sharing. He can learn in-door as well as out-door
games. You can walk him off to School after Kanika’s bus leaves
since the School starts after that time and fetch him back before
lunch time after you have finished cooking lunch. Isn’t it a superb
idea?” “Oh Mem Saab, is this possible? I’m xo happy but there is
one condition. I will pay the fees.” “Ok, Milee, you can do that.
After all he is your son and you are his mother,” said he employer
laughingly. Milee had tears in her eyes and Bunty was over excited
at the prospect of going to school. “Will I have a bag, bottle,
pencil box and Tiffin too?” He asked Milee with rounded eyes. “You
sure will Bunty”, chorused both the smiling ladies cutting vegetables
with great enthusiasm.
In the evening the
happy little boy told all the three didi’s that he too will be going
to school. Kanika hugged him and both her friends congratulated
Bunty. The years went by and Bunty became a strapping lad of nineteen.
He had started learning computers as well. Very soon he became a
Computer whiz and advised kanika and her friends on that subject
from time to time. Milee was thrilled at her son’s progress and
could not stop talking about him to any and everyone she met. Kanika
used to think of him as her brother and always tied rakhi on Bunty’s
wrist on Raksha Bandhan day.
When Kanika got married he organized everything and though he had
given her only mall and affordable gifts on Rakhi, Bhaidooj and
birthdays, his wedding gift was a pair of beautiful gold bangle
to his beloved sister.
Story teller : Amita enjoys writing stories
and poems. [email protected]
to get a short story written for children? [email protected]