I met her for the first time on a Monday evening while returning from office. She caught my attention as I was curious to know what she was trying to do. She was hesitating – her hand would just graze a part of the pakoda and then as if someone had caught her in the act of stealing one, she’d take her tiny hand off it. Within the next few seconds, she would do it all over again. The vendor did not mind and I could not resist an urge to ruffle her hair. I loved doing that and she turned her surprised cute head towards me and looked me straight in the eye and smiled back sheepishly. The pakoda vendor also smiled and in an almost apologetic vein went on to admonish her. That gesture from the vendor was meant more to make the child feel comfortable. I thought he likes the child.
Tuesday found me looking almost involuntarily for her near the vendor’s and I wasn’t disappointed. She was more beautiful in a green skirt and gathering it around her knees with one hand and with an empty water bottle on the other, which evidently somebody had carelessly thrown away on the pavement, she was taking aim at another empty water bottle that she might herself have placed a few metres ahead of her on the otherwise empty pavement. She was oblivious to the honking and chaos so close to her near the junction by the pakoda vendor and for a few moments we were removed from the world around us. We were in a world of our own and all to ourselves with not a care.
The third day when I looked out for her, she was standing a little afar from the pakoda vendor and gazing at a headless little girl mannequin, through the glass into a shop. The mannequin had on her a pretty pink frock and was holding the hand of her mother-mannequin who was also strangely headless. She was again in her own world. If somebody had shouted out her name loud at that very moment, I’d have been surprised had she responded. I failed to catch her attention for the second consecutive day, but neither did I want to disturb her and bring her back to the practically harsh reality.
She had found some unused bricks and arranged them to some height to make an elevated little step. She was bending over and with a water-filled ponds powder container was trying to spray water onto what appeared to me to be tissue papers. I had no clue where she found them but when I tried to figure out whether she was trying to clean the papers thoroughly or give them an imaginary bath, I lost. For her movements were alternately, forceful and gentle. She hadn’t perhaps made up her mind.
On Friday, I was more than just expectant to observe her because I was not sure whether I may pass by the same junction for two days immediately thereafter in the weekend. I did not find her and obviously disappointed, I made up my mind to search for her in the neighborhood even if it took some time. When I was about to give up in vain, I caught her humming a tune to herself and waving at a girl who was pillion-riding in a bike. I was also in her line of sight and when the bike turned the corner, before she could bring down her waving hand, I waved at her and her instant smile and recognition went straight to my heart. She waved back to me and my joy knew no bounds.
This is what love is all about. Sweet filled with warmth, a little selfless and a lot innocent!!