That evening, I had just come out of the gate of a well-known bird-watchers’ park of the city when I noticed this stranger, little girl. She was wearing this pink frock that looked like a school uniform…in fact, it was a school uniform.
The time of the day suggested that she might be returning from her school. But then, she was not wearing the shoes. She was not carrying the school-bag either.
She was sitting quietly on this concrete platform along the footpath. Leaning against this high wall behind her, turning her face backward, she was trying to sneak into something. Or perhaps, she was hiding from it…
She kept turning back, glancing over keenly; unaware of what was happening in front of her, unaware of my presence. She looked curious, but more than that, scared.
Possibly, she had done some mischief and now she was running away from getting caught. Or perhaps, she was looking at something she was not supposed to, something her little heartfelt was not right…
The whole sight made me think…
After a week, one evening, I went back to the same park… she met me outside a small grocery stall there. She was wearing the same pink school-uniform. One more time, I thought that she might have returned from the school. But again, she was barefoot, and without any school-bag.
I asked her which school that pink uniform belonged…She thought for a while and said: “I will have to ask this to Sonia; her mother has given this to me…”
“Who is Sonia?” I asked,
She replied: “I wash dishes at her house.”
Well, she had not gone to school that day, not the other day, not EVER…
“Life’s most urgent question is: What are you doing for others?”
-Martin Luther King (American Civil-Rights Leader,1929-1968)
Photograph & Poem © 2011 Gyaneshwari Dave