It was a fine morning when I went out for a walk around the street,but within half an hour dark clouds enveloped the morning sky and it was almost about to rain.But I wasn’t least disappointed and walked on as I saw my smiling face staring back at me from the first page of every newspaper read by people on the roadside benches.”Child Labour raids in Bangalore:New SP takes charge”,I read the headline in passing but then increased my pace ,walking briskly towards home but had to get under the nearest Idli Anna’s shop’s shed as I started feeling big drops on my shoulder.Anna,a stout man in lungi and a white tshirt ,with thick moustache smiled at me and asked me to get under the shed.I obliged and stood under the blue tarpaulin along with Anna who was busy getting idlis out of the steamer.The space was enough for five people so there was room to stretch my limbs after ordering a plate of Idlis n sambhar.

“It was such a sunny morning,and now it’s raining,the weather is so unpredictable these days da….” ,Anna kept talking while handing me the plate and I nodded while slurping on the sambhar.

“Anna!!” 

“Please Anna”

“Amma is sick Anna, please help!”

I looked around for the source of these cries,and found a little boy in torn pants,totally drenched ,looking at Anna with helpless eyes.

Anna silently kept working without batting an eye to the little boy’s pleas.

“Anna,I would do everything you say, please help me.I need to get my Amma to hospital, Amma isn’t waking up anymore,her body is heating up ,Baba returned yesterday,drunk ,angry and beat me up and didi too.”

Anna packed some idlis and gave it to him.The boy cried out again,”Anna!!I don’t need this! please help me!”

Anna got irritated by this and with stern eyes drove him away.

I was heartbroken by this,and my anger towards Anna was slowly increasing.The rain had stopped leaving pools of water everywhere.While paying,I looked at Anna and said,”You didn’t have to drive him away like that!!We could have helped him.What exactly did he want that you couldn’t give him,even when his mom was so seriously sick?Some money?Some food?What exactly?”

Anna looked at me, hurt and helplessness laced his eyes,

“He was asking for a job”.

-Krishna Mohanty

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