8:30 a.m. sharp, I leave my hostel and start walking down the lane to reach the metro station. A lane which is sometimes too clumsy in rain because of which one has to hop, to cross the pool or sometimes a highly guarded property by wild dogs in summers which do not even allow human intruders to pass by but also animal intruders, who are not a part of the colony dog club. Every morning, this 10-minute walk till metro station is more of finding new moments; But few things are constant.
Passing the lane, the smell of Irani chai that Amma makes every morning for most of the migrants like me motivates us to work for one more day till the weekends come, is always available. Right side, next to our Irani chai, one can have those fresh dosas, delicious punugulu and idlis prepared by our very own Kishore anna, who even is an immigrant and few sets of boys who while leaving to their offices stand nearby this “Cigarette corner” to have that one positive smoke which they feel is good for their fresh start.
There is one more thing constant, you will find every morning while walking down this lane. A six-year-old girl, barefooted, dressed up in school uniform, tied up a pony and with a ripped laptop bag with her books in it. Her eyes with that determination always use to poke me. Her pride in her walk, I use to feel. Coincidentally we together use to see each other every day, while crossing the main road and then partying away, me to the metro station and she to another lane where her school would be situated.
I use to think like I have my schedule, even she has one. But one fine morning, I realized the story was different. I was late today! 8:45 a.m. already and was still locking the door. I started with that brisk walk, and the moment I reached the main road, I found this girl with her bag, in an angry mood. While I was looking at my right and waving my hand to stop the vehicles, this girl was continuously looking at me and crossing the road. While we crossed together and reached our ends, I just asked her, “All okay?” and she said,” Don’t be late tomorrow” and left. I stood there for 2 minutes, thinking why she said this to me but who had the time to ponder more, and so even I left.
The next morning, usual time while we were crossing together, I was this time 2-3 steps ahead from her. While I checked my left once while crossing, I saw a biker coming at full speed. I held the girl’s hand and dragged her speedily. The moment we reached the ends, she pushed me back. I said, “If I would have not done that, you could have met with an accident.” With frown brows, she replied, “Thank you! For saving but I can manage. I stood there looking at that girl thinking for what that attitude was for and then left.
While coming back from the office, the same day, I met her again. She asked me to come and we both sat nearby the pathway. She said, “Sorry but please don’t tell anybody that I take your help while crossing the road. I wait for you so that once you come, I can cross the road.” I said,” Okay! But what happens if I am not there?” She replied,” There is one more aged uncle who crosses the road by 9 a.m. every morning, I wait for you but if I don’t see you didi, I cross the road while uncle crosses.” I said,” This you could have said to me earlier; Even if I was not going the same day, I can once come, help you in crossing the road and left.” The girl stood up and said,” Did I ask you for the favor?” I replied, “Fine, settle down”. She replied, “I can manage everything. My family and myself.” I was just looking at her and smiling.
Just six years old but her pride in handling everything alone was visible. Just because she never wanted to be knocked down as a poor fellow, she tried to do things in her own manner. Her dignity was, no matter what comes but she will do it.
We ask every day what feminism is. This is feminism. I am independent and wish to get things that I deserve with my hard work. We still every morning cross the road together but she never asked me to help. She just knew how to get her things done. I am 23 and still struggling to find the ways and here comes this six-year-old getting her things done in the right way.
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