The lonely two-year old on a busy road…

It was just a regular run-of-the-mill day, or so I thought. I have my best conversations with dad when I am driving, and he is on the passenger’s seat. As much as possible, I try to keep the mood light for he is a person with a tender heart, also making him susceptible to be tense real quick!

That was soon to change, when close to a turn, we saw a little boy of not more than 2, standing on the road, oblivious to the passing machines! My dad let out a loud enough sigh, and we both scanned the road to see if the little explorer had a guardian around him. None! As my car raced closer to him, I could notice the two-year-old bending down, picking something and in the act of tasting that ‘treasure’ he found from the road. It will be a good time to add that it a ‘treasure’ that was lying terribly close to the industrial waste dumped nearby! My dad kept asking, “Isn’t anyone with him?” And I could just mumble something under my breath with the sight from my rearview mirror showing me the little ‘lost’ boy taking small strides that only his tiny feet could take.

“Stop the car! Stop the car!” said my dad. I did. He immediately jumped out and started walking towards the child. I took a U, not completely sure what we could do with the child. I overtook my dad albeit from the other side of the road, as he raced towards the child as fast as his 67-year-old feet could take him. “Whose kid is this?” My dad tried to catch up on the little boy, who was still fascinated to test that treasure with his tongue.

We noticed a woman not too far away, in a shut down store, filling up her bag not too far away! The child changed direction towards the woman, and I let out a sigh of relief, that the little guy had someone to go to. My dad, though, was not a happy man! His grandfather’s heart was beating heavily thinking of the possibilities that could’ve happened to the child, while the woman who seemed like kid’s mother hardly bothered about the little chap. He made his displeasure clear to the woman who had left her child at the mercy of alert drivers!

She looked back at my father, while taking a sack on her shoulder, picking another rag on the road, followed by a little girl of about 9 who had another baby on her shoulder, as the little two-year old joined her. My dad choked. So did I. She kept looking back at my dad. Her eyes told a story. The story of her struggle to keep pace with the day! The story of her struggle, that I sitting in my 7-seater & raised up healthy, would never completely understand! The story of trying to keep the young mouths fed at least that day. And in between her struggle, that little 2-year-old was left unattended, perhaps also knowing fully well, that he will find his way to her!

My dad came back to my car. We drove off as the mother and her kids walked into invisibility. While there were words aplenty spoken inside the car en route, none made sense to this father and son.

This was not just another run-of-the-mill day.

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