Like every other weekday, Manav walked back from school with his mother, Meera. It was a 15 minute walk and he enjoyed it as a curious child. Manav would ask his mother several questions and sometimes she would tell interesting stories. One day while going back home, dark clouds gathered around and light rain fell over them. The coldness made him stick to his mother’s warmth under the umbrella. As they walked, Manav saw a stray puppy on the sidewalk. There was a plastic bag and in it sat the tiny creature with innocent sad eyes.

Manav shouted, “ Mama! There’s a lonely puppy. Look! He’s wet and frightened.

“Oh! yes. It seems so.”

“Mama, why is he alone? Where is his mama?”

“I don’t know my child. Maybe the little one got lost. See, that’s why I tell you to always stay with me.”

“But you always look after me to not get lost even though I am naughty sometimes. You come looking for me. So his mama will also come looking for her baby. Right?”

Meera was used to Manav’s unending questions and was ready to give answers. But this time, she knew she couldn’t be honest and let out the tragic fate of these animals and their little ones when they roamed around the streets of cruel humans into the mind of the cheerful child. While she hovered over that thought, Manav blurted out,” Did someone take his mama away? Did the bald man hurt her?”

Meera was confused from where he got the idea from, “ Why do you ask that Manav? And which bald man?”

“In the cartoon, mama. The superhero helps the baby of the mama dog who was hurt. The bald man hurts the mama dog.”

Meera stayed silent. They walked past many shops where people stood finding temporary shelter in the rain and others whose permanent place was the abandoned ground near the road. She saw a bunch of old homeless people under a shed there.

She said her thoughts out loud, “Stray dogs, stray humans. All have the same fate.”

“What, mama?”

“Nothing dear….. what you said is true. Some people hurt animals. They abandon them. These people do the same to their own species too.

Meera turned to Manav and crouched down, “ Son, you shouldn’t hurt anyone like the bald man, okay? You have to be kind to the helpless one. Be it animals or other humans. Like the superhero. Okay?

She patted him on the head lovingly and began to walk. She paused and looked back. Manav was standing still.

“What’s the matter, Manav?”, she asked.

“Mama, you asked me to be kind to everyone, right? I should help them, right?”

“Yes, that’s correct.”

“Then, the puppy we saw…. Can we take him home? We should help him, save him. It is cold outside and he is alone.”

“Manav, we can’t…..” Meera stopped and thought.

“Okay, Manav. We will take him home. Let me not just talk and teach about kindness but instead show it to you. Come on, let’s get him. ”

Manav smiled wide and ran back shouting, “ Yesssss! SUPERHERO !!!”

Meera drops her umbrella and ran behind him, laughing, “Manav! Wait for me!”