That tiny girl sat there in front of her plate trying to stuff in whatever was served. I tried to see if emotions played on her face and there were none. I sat with this toddler who was as old as my daughter. I tried making conversation with her but she would not look into my eyes. She just looked at her plate and tried swallowing something that she did not like. She signaled to the elder girl for some pickle and then again continued her task without looking up.
I met this little girl when we had gone to SOCARE for a visit. Of course, it is always a pleasure to interact with all the kids there but this special girl probably stole my attention, maybe because she was of my daughter's age. My daughter, Tunga, was fussing about having her food while I tried to pacify her and make her eat. And all the time, the little girl next to me sat silently and gulped her lunch without any aid. Somehow I got to know that her name was Sharada.
After lunch, Sharada sat with her companions to watch the cartoon serial. She did not seem very interested though. The warden told me that she was newly admitted and she was still home sick. Her health too seemed a bit fragile. I asked her if she would come to me. She extended her arms inviting me to carry her. I held her in my arms for some time and then she went back to her place. After some time, I saw her sleeping quietly in the corner of a room, in spite of all the noise that was happening outside.
There is nothing great about this story. But I donno why, I was immensely moved by this child. My eyes were tearful as I saw her sleeping alone. She did not utter a word but I felt as if our souls had connected. The emotion that I felt was priceless.
I donno what is the story behind her. I know it is a tragic one. But I really hope that what ever has happened in her life, it does not snatch away her childhood from her. I hope she will find her smiles and naughtiness. I hope to see her evolve like any other normal child. Last but not the least, I hope to be friends with her some time soon.