Imagine my utter surprise whenI saw my band of galahads march in this morning almost dragging a sullen looking fellow, their captive of the day. I was sson to learn that it was Ramu,
bablis' famous brother!
They wanted me talk to him and make him understand that he was not to bully his sister.. or beat up or make her do his work.. they were all talking at the same time, but I got the general idea..
Ramu stood sullen anbd I knew I had to play my cards right. He of course denied everything. He was after all a child of urban India slums, where children are always chided and abused and left no alternative but to repeat the pattern with someone younger; where boys are taught to believe that they are of superior mettle and girls inferior.. butI also knew that this young man had had the courage to come and face me..
Babli of course nodded her little head vigourously when asked whether big brother beat her. Now the stage was mine.. I took Ramu's hand and gently explained to him what having a hole in a heart meant, and then telling him that being a big brother was a privilege and that he was responsible for his two sisters and that I knew that he would care for Babli. Ramu's hand was still in mine and I felt an almost imperceptible squeeze. I realised that maybe it was the very fisrt time that an adult had spoken kindly to Ramu.
Now it was time to lighten the atmosphere so I asked Ramu what was his dream.. and he whispered - cricketeer - !
We then made a pact that if he would promise to look after Babli then I would see about organising cricket coaching for all pwhy boys. the pact was sealed with a high five and laughter.
It was then phototime and though Babli was all smiles, Ramu still had to play the role of the sullen brother though I think he was smiling inside. My knights in shining armour stood around with huge grins on their face.
Well done boys!