Leader of the pack..

Some of you may remember the incident when cupid was responsible for the breaking of a wall at our Okhla centre. The wall was repaired by the very boys who broke it.

But the matter did not rest there. The words of the fat man were still buzzing in my head. Today I finally met all the boys in question. Actually I first saw them peeping from a tiny hole in the tent, as the children danced merrily. You could almost feel that somewhere those boys everyone had given up on, were longing to be part of the fun.

I slid out quietly and went to where they were calling out for aiyya, as he, I was told, was a leader. A nice kid, with a broad smile jumped down and introduced himself as aiyya, a little perplexed he stood in front of me like a little boy caught on the wrong foot. I felt immense tenderness for this child that unknown circumstances had branded a goonda.

I told him how glad I was to meet him and wondered if there was something I could do for him. English, he said, I want to learn English and computers. Consider it done, but you have to look after the safety of the computers and this school, was my reply. We chatted for a while and I told him that the fat man had warned me about him being dangerous, but added that to me he was a child in need of love. And that very moment a well meaning but insensitive man told me to ask them why they had not studied when their parents told them to?

I shut him up by telling him that what was past was past, and that today was another day and a first step to any dream. We talked for a long time about many things and the boys just stood there and listened.

An extreme sadness filled me as I watched this young men who could have been so many things had we adults played our parts correctly; had the powers that be given them everything that was rightfully theirs, had vile people not used their tender minds to fulfill hidden agendas, had someone been there the first time they made a mistake to gently set them back on course, had someone been there just to tell them they were the best..

So many questions that will remain unanswered, so much hurt to heal, so much time to make up for.

As I left, I realised that I had been made leader of the pack, a huge responsibility if at least I had the courage not to let them down.

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