I always wondered what people meant when they say ‘love at first sight’. A recent experience gave me the answer I needed. It was more than just an answer…I was actually in ‘love at first sight’…
I was at my uncle’s place to visit my grandmother. As I entered the house a beautiful smile greeted me. It was so beautiful that I could not stop staring. I came back to my senses when a little girl with an enchanted smile came to me and said, “Please have your seat.” I fell so much in love with her smile that I kept staring at her all day.
She was a 10-year-old house help at my uncle’s place and worked in her own joyful way. One after the other she kept doing things. She never stopped. Every time we called her for lunch we received the same response – ‘Let me finish this bit of work’. I learnt from my aunt that she works from 6.30 am – 6.30 pm. She keeps the house clean, waters the plants, folds the clothes and helps my aunt with cooking. I also learnt that she is always very active and most importantly she never let go of that beautiful smile – a smile that really moved me.
She served every bit of the food I ate that day and every glass of water I drank. Later that evening my aunt wanted to make some hot pakodas for us and this lovely kiddo was chopping onions. I joined to help her and had a little chat with her. She told me that she had three elder sisters. Two of them got married and the other was also a house help like her.
And then, slowly but steadily the smile started killing me. Every time I saw her I got suffocated. I knew from deep within that this beautiful young girl deserved much more than being a house help. I also knew that I was not as brilliant as a kid as she was. What suffocated me was my helplessness in doing something for her. The innocence in her smile, the way she enjoyed life in spite of all the odds, the way she was grateful to what life gave her..in fact everything about her started suffocating me to death for not being able to help her. What could I do for her? Could I ask my uncle to support her education and let her go to school?
To my rescue came my two cousins. It struck to me after a lot of fighting with myself that I had two cousins who lived in the same house. They were 12 and 10 years old. They were out to play when it struck to me that they could help. I went searching for them like a desperate parent looking for her lost kids. When we got back home, I started talking to them about my little love. I told them that they should help her learn because she did their work all day. I told them that she deserved to be much better than a house help and both the kids agreed. I told them that education was the best of all gifts and god would take care of them if they took care of this little girl. After one hour of discussion and planning with them they promised that they would help the little girl learn and that l would receive regular updates. The first assignment was that my cousins listen to her, know her story, know why she stopped studying, know if she would like to learn and tell me the story. I told them that once they are done with the first assignment I will tell them how to take it forward.
In a hurry I forgot I had to take an update from my cousins. But to my surprise one of my cousins called me a couple of days later and said that my love wants to learn but she stopped studying because her father couldn’t afford to send her to school. My cousin also said that she will start teaching my love from the coming Sunday.
Hats off to the kiddos (my cousins). My heart was back in its place.
By the way, ‘Kumari’ is the name of this beautiful young girl with an enchanted smile.