I can’t get the image out of my head. The boy looked at her, as she extended the bright yellow thing towards him. There was an unsure smile on his lips, a glint in his eyes and disbelief etched all over his face. He looked at the thing in her hand – A brand new truck – and then again, at her. He then looked at the rest of the group.
“This is for you.”, she said lovingly.
He didn’t understand a word.
“Take it! It is for you.”
Two more from the group knelt down and asked him to take it. He must have understood. He turned to look at his mother. She stood a few feet away from him, smiling. She nodded her consent. He looked at the toy and slowly extended his hands. When the toy was entirely in his possession, a brilliant smile bloomed across his face. If he were a star, he would have been the brightest. The exuberance, the gratitude, the excitement were all clear from his face. Only if I could capture that moment with all its glory…
He looked at all those unfamiliar faces smiling down at him, saying things in a tongue he couldn’t understand. The kind lady asked him, “Do you like it?”
He looked at his mother and then back at the lady, smiling all the while. A boy from the group asked, “Can we take your picture?”
“Yes! Let us click a picture together”
As one of them took his camera out, the child seemed to understand. He stood up and smiled. They all gathered around him and clicked some pictures. The moment the snaps were taken, he stood on his toes trying to peep into the camera.
“He wants to see the picture. ”
“Show him the picture.”, someone piped in.
The boy who took the snap, knelt down and began showing him the pics. The little boy excitedly pointed at his image in the photo.
My sister and I were watching this from a distance. I was touched beyond measure. A bunch of students from overseas had come here, to Cochin. There was a little boy in old clothes and unkempt hair running around. As they walked through marine drive, they must have seen this child. What happened then?
Probably someone said, “Look at that kid. He is so cute.”
And then another must have said, “Why don’t we buy him something?”
Or, he must have been looking longingly at the toys in a stall nearby. And then, one of them must have decided to buy him one.
Probably, one of them had a policy of ‘One good deed every day’ and they just chanced upon this boy.
Whatever the reason, I thank the blessed moment that inspired them.
I found myself walking forward and asking, “Do you mind if I take a picture of you all with the boy?”
“Sure! No problem!”
I took a snap.
“Thank you so much. Where are you all from?”
As I walked away, I couldn’t stop smiling. I am sure that apart from the boy, my sister and myself, there were many others who were equally heartened seeing this. It isn’t a life changing event. I agree. But it is one that brings a smile. After all, isn’t life made of little things and tiny smiles?
On our way back, I went to the boy. He was playing with his truck. I asked him if I could take a photo and showed my phone. He smiled and sat still with the toy ready to be captured. I took the picture and once I lowered the phone, he came running. I showed him the snap and he grabbed the phone. He looked at it for a while and handed the phone back. His mother who was selling something nearby, came to me & smiled. I thanked her and left.
I have looked at these snaps a hundred times. But, I still can’t get that image out of my head. The one etched in my memory. The one where his unsure smile, the glint in his eyes and disbelief transformed into pure bliss.
I don’t know those students. I don’t know that boy. But of all the times, of all the days and of all the places, I was at Marine drive, Kochi at 6 PM on that particular day when some students from West came to East and gifted a toy to a child. I wasn’t there by chance. I believe I was there to tell the story. 🙂
PS: The image has been shared after obtaining the consent.