I looked into her eyes and smiled, she smiled back from her heart. Hmm, from her heart because I could see the reflection in her eyes. She was sitting at the gate of a fast local I generally come home by. I waved at her slowly and she smiled again. Many people were there but none seemed to bother that a kid is sitting on the gate and she might fall and yeah, why would they? It’s not a new thing in the fast paced life of the city of dreams Mumbai. I wasn’t feeling well that day so came early from office. I wanted some restful and peaceful time but don’t know why felt like talking to her. I told her to come and sit on the seat. She hesitated once but still came and sat in front of me and gave a shy smile and yup, there was the sweetness and innocence of a kid too. ‘Then what makes these kids different from others’ I thought. I looked her Mom who was selling tiny stuff to other people and got the answer.
“What’s your name”? I asked, guess smile just found the way to my lips and dint want to leave.
“Khushi”. She replied after a pause.
Hmm, nice name. “What does it mean, Khushi”? I asked again.(regretted later)
She looked lost. She looked at her Mom then looked back at me, smiled and replied “I don’t know”.
Ohh, how could I expect that she will know that? Hmm, have I already mentioned that I regretted it later? Yeah, I did. Good.
“Well it means happiness, lots of smiles. You smile, right?” and she agreed with a smile. I wanted to know how old she is. I thought at least this she must know. And here I made another mistake. She had no clue about her age. I told her to go to her Mom and ask. She was seven.
“You go to school”? I don’t know why I was taking so much interest in her. May be because I felt a connection or a bond but something was there.
She became sad a bit and replied slowly “I went but they say my name is not there in the list, they dint let me sit in the class.”
What? Who? How? Why? A lot of questions started appeared at the speed of thought but I asked just one. “Why? Dint you send your father to talk to them?”
She looked at me, blank look and looked away without even saying a word. I rethought my question and looked at her Mom. She had all signs of being married Indian women. Then what’s wrong? I thought but couldn’t gather enough guts to ask. I looked away and started looking out of the window. No, stop it, no more questions please. Enough now.
“Three years ago he left us and ran away with someone” it was her. I got stunned. I looked back at her, she was looking at me constantly. “What”? That is all I could say.
“That is all I know, you see the kid sitting near my Mom, my father ran away with his Mom”. There was no smile but a tough look too.
I couldn’t say anything else and yeah, what could I say. I kept quite but kept looking at her innocent face.