My evenings started with a hot bread pakoda and a cup of coffee from a near by restaurant..well i don’t know if I can call it a restaurant because they themselves don’t..they call it KRISHNA REFRESHMENTS. I used to live near by this place, Bhandarkar road amazingly crowded with all sort of vehicles crawling and honking their way . Every evening I would walk to this refreshment center (lets call it that for time being :P) and would say ” coffee,bread Pakoda” along with my index finger up indicating one each. Since my Hindi was very poor I don’t talk much. The problem is that I don’t understand their Hindi and they don’t understand my version of it.
Days passed and I went everyday without fail. This was very economical too. 10 bucks for each – the stomach filling pakoda and the soul-waking coffee . Yep, although the cup could be a little bigger it was soul-waking, it would just wake up the soul like our mom’s annoying sound used to wake us up in the mornings back in high school days ( well mom did not sound bad during the day..of course even Elvis Presley would sound annoying if it was 5 in the morning and you were still in the bed).Finally that day came when just upon seeing me the guy behind the counter turned and screamed ” yeke bread pakoda aur coffee”. It made me feel special 😀 .
One day I was standing there holding the paper plate with the bread pakoda and green chili (looked like made for each other) in one hand and hot coffee in the other. I took the coffee cup closer to my mouth, the smell itself half awakened my sleepy soul, it was after the first sip that the small lad came into my notice. He wore a worn out T-shirt that had Armani(with two ‘A’s) written on it along with a fake logo tucked into an old dirty jeans and wore no footwear. He had a big flask in his tiny dirty hand. He smiled at me as he caught me staring at him. I smiled back vaguely. He went inside to the kitchen, well I think like the new generation Indians they too believed in a very transparent working system – they did not have any cover to their kitchen. It was very open ( it wasn’t very comfortable though..I always to try to keep my vision out from there). That night as I was in my bed I couldn’t stop thinking of the small kid, I mean at his age I was watching Pokemon and was being fed by my mom.
I realized that the coffee really woke my soul up, I decided to act instead of simply sitting and thinking. The next day I eagerly watched him. His job was to supply coffee in flasks to the string of banks in Bhandarkar road. He went holding the TOO-BIG-FOR-HIM flasks with a smile on his face.Everyday I would see him do the same thing and every night I would think what I could do to help him. The next day I went to meet a professor in my college known to be a very active social activist. I talked to him, narrated to him the whole thing. He smiled at me “Very happy to hear that you really want to do something for the kid..” he turned his attention to something that appeared in his computer screen (probably something more important >.<) “but have you thought what might happen to him after we showed him to the government officials? I will tell you, they would put him in a government juvenile home and his life as an individual would end there..” and he went on for long on what would be the end result of showing him to the officials…his family would starve, he would lose his freedom…it went on.
I walked back to my room.That evening I did not go to Krishna Refreshments because i felt guilty. I felt it as if it was my fault that he is suffering. Is he suffering ? Was it better this way? The kid made me stay up that night too. Then couple of days I stayed away from Krishna Refreshments as I knew I couldn’t stand the sight of the kid. You must be thinking that I am being guilty for nothing(I don’t know if you really thought that well if you hadn’t please do..I need to finish this thing). Well that is because one thing in this story never happened – me meeting the professor…I really wanted to meet someone who could help me out but then my mind became the professor and my heart stood there as me. The facts that my mind showered upon me completely contradicted the emotions that my heart released. I was sorry for not trying to help him at the same time I was happy for not putting him in trouble by trying to help him.Life sometimes (at least for me) is like this, Your mind takes you to one place but your heart pulls you to another. We stand right in the middle not knowing what to do.
What do you people think I should have done ?