Innocence has the unfathomable power to make any inhibitions or fear crumble. Our little people give us big lessons of life, from their innocent hearts.
The moment I opened the door to our house, I shrieked.
Kanchan stood on the threshold with a blanketed bundle in her arms, through which peeped a pair of eyes.
Even the severe early morning cold could not hide the look of impish mischief from those eyes.
“Who is it?”
“My daughter, Sona.”
“But why have you brought her with you in this cold?”
By now she had deposited the three-year-old on the sofa, and removed the blanket.
I shrieked anew.
The right side of Sona’s cheek was bandaged.
“She was bitten by a dog,” she said, before I could ask her what had happened.
“Oh no! Did you get her injected?”
“Yes, my husband had taken her to the hospital, and since there was no one at home, I had to bring her here,” she said with a rueful expression.
Undeterred by her bandaged face, Sona had climbed down the sofa, and was prattling away, much to her mother’s discomfiture. She even picked up a stuffed joey and thinking it was a dog started rebuking it.
“You bit me? I am so small. Why did you bite me?”
Kanchan looked at me with a sheepish expression, as she shelled the peas, hurling reprimands at her every now and then as I typed away on my laptop.
“Give her something to eat,” I said.
She gave me a reluctant look.
“Make a parantha for her, put jam on it and make her eat.”
“She does not like parantha, she likes only toas.”
“Toast, you mean?”
“Give her the paratha with jam, she will like it,” I insisted, eyes refusing to leave the laptop.
“She does not like jaam,” she said emphatically.
“Arrey jaam kaun keh raha hai. Jam!”
She reluctantly went into the kitchen to do my bidding, and was back with a crisp parantha with jam. Sona screwed her tiny, bandaged face into an expression of disgust, as Kanchan asked her to eat it. Then Kanchan scurried into the kitchen where she had forgotten another parantha on the griddle. My eyes were back to the laptop screen.
“Madam, where is Sona?” Kanchan was back from the kitchen wiping her hands on a napkin.
“She was playing with a paper and pencil, just a few minutes back,” I said, getting up from the chair, to find the front door wide open.
The tiny girl had furtively slunk away from the house!
I raced down the stairs, a highly panic-stricken Kanchan in tow.
The three-year-old was very calmly sitting next to a pup and lovingly cutting the parantha into tiny pieces and putting them into the pup’s hungry month, who was gobbling them up ravenously .
The aphorism once bitten twice shy seemed to have suddenly lost all meaning.
The two of us stood outside this circle of love as the three-year-old continued feeding the two-week-old, the hurt inflicted by another canine already forgiven and forgotten.
“Ab matt kaatna mujhey!” (Never bite me again) Sona was lisping to the pup and the pup seemed to nod knowingly as it opened its mouth for the next morsel.
Kanchan and I exchanged glances, Kanchan scooped up her Sona, and headed back into our house. The pup continued wagging its tail, stood there for some time and disappeared.
At a distance, the labourers were getting ready for the back-breaking toil of the day, as a majestic kingfisher swooped down from a tree, perched on a telephone wire, and peered around. The world around it slowly hummed to life. Our little people give us big lessons of life, from the heart. If only we listened.
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