Thursday, 26 May 2011

Sleeping child

There's a park near our home. It's pretty okay, by Bangalore standards. Not as well-kept or as large as parks in Mysore, of course, but good to walk around. And it's now THE hangout in our area. In the past three months, a new Corner House has opened on one side, a new Au Bon Pain has opened on another.  Walkers now have an array of delights to keep them exercising hard!

Right next to the Au Bon Pain (which, in turn is very close to French Loaf), is a mobile chaat cart. A man and his wife run it. They have three kids.

Practically every evening, there's a beeline as famished couples and families head for nourishment. Bikers, slightly poorer families and office goers head to the chaat cart. A more upmarket clientele troops into ABP. Ergo, everyone's happy.

The chaatwala and his wife work hard and since they have three children, I'm glad they do good business. Their smallest child, a little girl, is two or three years old. Every evening, as I do my walk-then-run-then-huff-and-puff routine round the park, I see that little girl fast asleep, wrapped in a dirty sheet. The mother lays that child on the park pavement, next to chaat cart.

How that little girl sleeps! There are vehicles honking around her, angry motorists gunning vehicles like they're battling their demons; chaat eaters eating noisily, chatting and laughing; people like me--walkers, joggers, strollers, and yes, even oglers--moving around constantly. Some nearly step on the sleeping child.

Yet with all this ebb and flow, that little girl stays asleep.The mother has no option but to lay her down on that dirty, dog-poop infested ground. And that child knows crying will not help her situation, so she goes to sleep, uncomplaining.

My heart aches for them.