Butter would not melt....

If you look at Vicky you would think of him as a very quiet and obedient kid. Butter would not melt in his mouth as the saying goes. The reality is quite different as the teachers at the foster care discovered.

Vicky belongs to an extremely poor family and being the youngest boy and the only abled one he has been spoilt silly by a doting but totally illiterate mother. His father a rickshaw puller is barely at home and Vicky was often left to itself playing with older children in the slum, and learning all he wrong things.

It does not take long to change ways in the harsh reality of a slum. We have seen it happen with Babli's brother Ramu, one of our brightest kids some time back when he was still in primary school. We had a lot of hopes riding on him but they all shattered as Ramu got into the wrong company. Today he barely attends school and has started gambling and other nefarious activities. It does not take long for the slums to take you down.

That is maybe one of the reasons that I held on to the foster care programme in spite of all the criticism and warnings. Maybe, if we took the kids at he right age we would be able to change their lives. Easily said than done.

Vicky the Angel with a halo when we are around turns into a unmanageable brat once our back turned. He has been driving the staff up the walls and also instigating his pals to rebellion. At night when all are meant to sleep, the double life of Mr V begins. Plans are whispered using words that would make a sailor blush. Mostly about what would be done to us once they grow up: I will plant a knife in them whispers Vicky while the others nod. Who do they think they are these ***** and so on. All this heard by he teacher pretending to sleep.

When we confronted Vicky, he just kept quiet, his head bowed, butter would not melt...

Next day we called his father to tell him that if Vicky's attitude did not change we would be compelled to send him back as he also refused to study. It was heart breaking to see the father's face as he implored us to keep his son. He simply said that were he to go back to the slums he would become even worse as the environment was not conducive to any child's proper growth.

We have of course agreed to keep him for the time being. Could we do anything else.