The neatly ironed spotless white uniform was now a crumpled brownish sweaty piece of cloth. The perfectly polished pair of black shoes, now had layers of dirt on them, the ID card tag was played with like a Yo-yo. The water bottle empty and used as drums, the tiffin bag which was heavier in the morning was now used as a seat to prevent the hot tar from kissing his little buttocks. Judging by his appearance, he definitely made an impression of a naughty, cheerful, outstanding student of class 3 or 4, from a school nearby. Oh! How could I forget mentioning the bright orange coloured ice lolly that he was savouring with all his senses!
So, this place, it is a junction, deviating from the highway, the vehicles generally tend to slow down and there’s also a nonconventional bus stop- the bus stops because people stand there and demand for it to stop. A middle aged man in a black bike passes by in reasonable speed, this little boy starts running behind him, loudly yelling the name of the place he wants to reach. The man didn’t pay any heed. A tempo comes, the Driver stops the Vehicle to receive a phone call, the boy asks if he can get a lift, driver starts the vehicle and drives off, while the boy is still standing there. 3-4 vehicles come and the same routine continues. A bus comes, all his friends climb the bus and call him too but he says something. (It wasn’t audible and no subtitles) the bus leaves.
By this time, my friend and I have come up with all the possible theories for this very scenario. The best and most likely one being, he might have spent every single penny he had and his house isn’t in a walkable distance. We decided to help him out after he tries couple of times more. We could see his smile withering, there was a shift in his walk, he started thinking all the ways he could reach home, how he remembered all his favourite Gods and felt sorry for not listening to mom’s words. By now, he is restless, walking here and there. A shared auto fellow stops right in front of him, asks him ‘wodeg?’ which means where are you willing to go ?, In the regional language ‘Tulu’. The little boy replies, ‘Manjarapalke‘ his destination. The auto driver said, ‘bala, budpe’ (come, I’ll drop you there) the boy says, ‘kaas ijji’ (I have no money). The auto driver said ‘kaas bodchi, battad Kullu. Gaadi adig boordu sayodchi!’ (meaning – Arre, I don’t need money, you have a seat. I don’t want you to get killed by falling under any vehicle). The smile on the boy’s face is back and there’s a happy jump in his walk. The auto left and our bus arrived.
Maybe, the world isn’t that bad of a place to be living in and it’s totally okay to live in the moment, take risks, ask for lift from strangers because, if you want to reach home, the route taken and means of travel doesn’t really matter when you are home.