Thursday, October 18, 2012
You were probably 4 or 5 years old, and it was the first few months of having been admitted to a school down the road from your house. You were playing with your cousins and friends all day long, and suddenly you were yanked from your familiar routine with familiar faces and thrust into this school with total strangers. You hated going to school every day. You hated saying good-bye to your elder brother who sat you on the front bar of the bicycle and took you to school every morning. You sat there on the edge of the bench and kept thinking of when your sisters will come with your lunch. After a while, you seemed to be getting used to the routine, not whole-heartedly, but whole enough not to feel so sad. Because you learnt that the kids you played with were also going to school. One day, around 11 am, while not listening to the teacher going on about something and daydreaming, your sisters come to your class and you see them talk to the teacher. Your new found friends want to know what’s happening. Soon, you are told to take your bag and go with your sisters. You couldn’t be happier. Once you are home, your mother is waiting for you. She says for you to get ready as you are traveling to meet your dad who is working in a town some hours away. You just follow her and go to the bus stop. Strange women smile at you and talk to your mom. It’s warm inside and you wish the driver would start the bus so some breeze would come in. There’s a smell of sweet fruit. Some mother buys ‘murukku’ from a vendor for her kid. You don’t get that as you are not allowed to eat outside food. Then you hear this song, rendered quite badly. You look around and see a girl with a small boy, and she is singing this song, and stretches her arm out for alms. You don’t remember if anyone put any money in that hand. You just remember the song.