With five minutes till the main gates close
The red signal stupefied my vehicle. I froze
On the spot. That’s it. I’m late. Oh, the woes
Of being tardy. Ah, these phases of morose.
I look around and notice nice, long rows
Of hanging Indian flags and Nehru’s photos.
It was Children’s Day, November 14th.
The day for people just like me.
A day for all who feel childish glee
At the sight of sweet sugared candy.
I was certain that tonight on TV,
I’d find the likes of Arnab Goswami
Riddling about what they think the country is to be
So that our freedom fighters can rest in peace.
As I was looking about and looking around
A little girl walked up to those around.
Her height was short and her face was round
But her winsome charm seemed profound.
For a girl with such inner beauty, her deed left me dumbfounded.
With a smile on her face, ear-to-ear
She approached each driver, there and here.
She wiped the dust off their vehicles with a mere
Little kerchief she had; she dusted both front and rear.
She was stopped by most as she did so;
The drivers told her to stop and just go.
She held up to them a meagrely filled bowl
Of coins. They gestured and nodded- they said no.
Not even for one person did she expose
The tiniest tad of pitiable sorrow.
She just went on to the next in the row
Of vehicles, to be treated to the same negligent show.
Then she came to me; it was my turn
To choose to be open and kind of taciturn.
She began dusting but I stopped her with a churn
Of feelings. I couldn’t see someone like her yearn
For a life that she fully deserves.
I had to do something to preserve
That lovely smile she boasts in the sun.
I wanted to be at least one
Of many who would soon help her overcome
The struggles she’s facing. I wanted them done.
She held up to me the same meagre bowl
And smiled to me- “Didi, kuch toh bhi dedo.”
I felt a crush within and tears almost flowed
From my eyes but her eyes still glowed
With beaming hope that I would differ from those
Who dismissed her with an insolent ‘no’.
I gathered myself and flashed a smile back.
I asked her to wait and she took a step back
As I reached into my bag and pulled out a stack
Of a couple extra sandwiches my mom had packed.
She laid her amber eyes on the sweet sight
Of those sandwiches packed one on another, nice and tight.
Seeing her joy, I held back tears with all my might
And handed the sandwiches to the girl with a smile so bright
That the sun, for a moment, lacked the light
To outshine the girl’s pure and innocent delight.
She almost jumped a bit before saying ‘Thank you, didi!’
She extended her hand which beckoned to me
To extend mine too. But for what? I didn’t see
Any reason for it. And then she wished me.
‘Heppy Childrin Day, Didi!’
And that was that. I wished her back.
She skipped along to the sidewalk’s path.
She sat down, tucked in and took a bite of the snack
That gave her the one thing she lacked-
The ultimate goal from a journey’s inception.
It isn’t an uncommon misconception
That it is enough to have a predilection
In order to succeed in one’s life.
Success is something that many strive
To achieve. They certainly have the drive
But they lack the means to contrive
A change in their own lives.
On Children’s Day, we should aim
To provide means to children so that they remain
With equal chance to ensure they gain
Every advantage to achieve their own aim.
The day we do this we will be so pleased
With the results that this transformation will yield.
And the day children’s suffering will cease
Is the day that Pandit Nehru will truly rest in peace.