12yr old Dreamers

Kim Kardashian is getting married again. But this time I suppose the cause is noble(r). I do admit I like her with the blonde hair. Somehow it makes her look less vapid. If that were a possibility, that is. Her recent selfie in the white swimsuit (I would like to see someone do a freestyle length of the pool wearing that) was also commendable as she had started resembling Cinderella’s pumpkin carriage around the time of Nori’s birth. Though why I’m rambling on about her I have not a clue. I was to write about a quaint little boy I met yesteday. A solemn, delicate little elfin child with serious, beautiful eyes thickly fringed with the longest eyelashes I have seen since the Kardashian female clan (ah, there it is).

This boy, the oldest offspring of my brother’s part time help tagged along with his mother, an equally emaciated 25 yr old woman called Sunita. She was married off at 13 and had him soon after, but that’s another story. While his spunky mother cleaned the house and chatted up a storm with my mother, a conversation both heartwrenching and grotesquely fascinating at the same time, he, a nonchalant 12 year old, was content sitting in a corner and practising his slingshot aim with naught but his imagination. Saffera the friendly household Golden Lab, having tried her utmost to engage him in a friendly game or atleast get some pats & cuddles, being usually irresistible, failed and sat resignedly at a respectable enough distance. She watched him nose twitching, with undisclosed awe having never before been turned down by one of his stature. “Who was this intruder who didn’t want to fuss over her obvious awesomeness?”

I tried to engage him in some conversation myself with a time-tested, unbeaten ploy where boys and for that matter men are concerned. Armed with a plateful of sweets and savoury snacks, I approached him only to be rebuffed with a polite “I don’t like eating these, thanks.” Not willing to accept quick defeat, I did manage to entice into his hands a nutty biscuit I had got from Anand Sweets in Bangalore on my last trip. A poor choice of word, this “entice”, I admit, considering how with a long suffering expression, reasoning with himself that it was the only way to rid himself of me, he took one politely and dismissed me and my ill practiced entreaties.

I left him to his devices and Saffera’s growing befuddlement. Here was someone who not only refused her, a fluffy golden ball of love,  but food as well. “What was this world coming to?” she thought and huffed in disdain.

Later, once he left with his mom, after she had partaken of post work tea and snacks, I learnt of the boy’s life from my mother. Falling two floors down when he was just 7 months, whilst chasing after an errant cat, had resulted in a head trauma that more or less sealed his fate for life. A life of being different, something not kindly taken to in his family or society. Okay, let’s face it, ANYwhere for that matter. Concentration has never been his strong point since and neither is conventional social behaviour. On a jaunt to a nearby store with his brother when he was 3 or 4, he bit his tongue clean in half. He was hopping in lieu of walking and tripped, biting down hard. Sunita matter of factly told my already nauseous, vertigo ridden mother of how she held his tongue in her hand and took her son to the hospital for it to be stitched back. A year or so later the same little boy split his chin open playing by himself while being supervised by his alcoholic father. Soon after he began getting epileptic seizures. The onset of these episodes alarm his teachers and classmates and expose him to ridicule and name-calling. However, being self-possessed and determined, he doesn’t pay them much heed and has decided what he wants to do with his life. His dream is to dance. To dance in Bollywood movies to be precise.

He is passionate about dancing and his mother fiercely asserts despite her qualms that he is very good at it. She worries about his education and her means to get him dance lessons. One can make out, my mother said to me, that she hasn’t ruled out that option yet. As all mothers she wants him to be happy, but Sunita knows making her son’s dream come true with his present condition and negligible medical help will be a distant reality.  For now she wants him to complete year 10 at school before anything else can be determined. He has constant trouble with structure and academics but is not particularly perturbed that he is unlike his peers in school. He also works part time as an embroiderer in old Delhi making beautiful designs on anarkali suits come to life under the beady eyes of some embroidery masterji.

In his free time he fills in for his mother and takes care of his younger siblings, making them hot rotis and entertaining them with his latest moves, dreams of dancing in Bollywood alongside a big star, maybe even of becoming a star himself, makes periodic 3 am visits to G.B. Pant hospital in Daryaganj for post seizure check up with his mother to beat the rush, and of course, practices his slingshot aim.

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