This is a notion with which I was brought up. Though, I never followed it, but this thing was always shoved up in my face. Being prone to accidents, I had my share of tears. But, this is not about me.
I was at a supermarket, shopping for some groceries for the month. There was this small boy, around 5. He was with his Momma (that’s what he was calling his mother) and was standing by his trolley. As I passed him, I gave him a smile (something I am rather quite accustomed to) and he obliged.
I was done with my shopping and was about to check out. As I was leaving the aisle, I saw him lying on the floor and crying his shorts out! Now, I think this might not have been a good thing to do, but I did stood there to listen as to what his “momma” was saying and why he was crying out so loud.
As it turned out, the kid wanted a tooth brush because it came with a toy car and his “momma” did not buy him one, not that she couldn’t afford it, but because she was adamant that she has already bought a whole box of chocolate bar for him and she’ll give it to him when they’ll go home. But, boys will always be boys. He didn’t stop.
His “momma” decided to leave him lying on the floor and just go and check out. And to my utter surprise, she actually did that. As the checkout was a bit far off from where this whole drama unfolded, the “momma” would have thought that he’ll come once he sees her going off. He didn’t.
Everybody was passing by, looking at the boy with rather unpleasing looks. Some were kind enough to not even notice the boy. Several minutes passed, he stopped crying and started turning his head around to see what has actually happened. I thought the same thing he would have been thinking, even if his “momma” left him to teach him a lesson, she should have returned by now. She did not.
Now the boy was scared. He didn’t get up and started moving his springy neck here and there in a fast motion. But to no avail, because she had actually left the store.
I was looking at him and kept on changing the aisles. Was close by to him. After having seen enough, I walked up to him, picked him up, gave him the toothbrush he was crying for so bad. He didn’t take that. He was scared to hell. So much, that he was actually shivering. I asked him as to where his “momma” is, he didn’t say a single word. I didn’t ask any other thing since I knew he won’t answer.
I made my purchase and took him up to the mall in search of his momma. I tried to give him a Kinder egg, he looked at me with his tearful eyes and took the egg in his hand and didn’t open it. He was looking for his mother. I thought this in my mind, that his mother would be looking for him as well, so I should go and wait by the supermarket in case she comes looking for him. I took him with me to the super market and stood outside to all sorts of crazy looks.
I asked him if he knew his “momma’s” cellphone number, which he didn’t. Another negative. Almost half an hour had passed and there was no sign of his momma. Now I was more worried than the boy. I went to the authorities to make an announcement about the boy. But he wasn’t co-operative enough at all. He didn’t find us friendly enough to tell us his name. And to my utter surprise (AGAIN!), the authorities weren’t co-operative enough as well!
“Arre sir jis ka bacha hoga woh aajeyengi…khamaakha main dimaag mat kharab karain apna.”
On my insistence, they did do a small announcement.
“Aggar kisi khawateen ka bachha ghum hogaya hai toh kindly administration par aa kar report karain”.
When I came to the food-court area, the boy spotted his “momma” and raised his finger at her. The “momma” was least interested. She was more interested in finishing her order. I took him to her. This is what went down:
Momma: Oh my god, I am glad. I thought I lost him. Please tell how I can repay you.
She took her purse and took out a few paper of trash (read Cash).
Me: I am no sherlock holmes and neither am I detective. I didn’t take care of your boy for some material reward.
Momma: So? What else do I give you? I can treat you if you want. I am not used to keeping favors.
That was not much pleasing to hear.
Me: Oh…that’s cool. In that case, do me a favor! Next time, please use some really good protection so that you don’t have to leave your kid in a crowded super market.
Momma: How disgusting you are!
Me: Thank you.
That small boy kept on looking at her mother. I know I was a bit harsh to the mother, however, things are pretty bleak in our part of the world nowadays. Parents don’t know what their children are up to. Children don’t care what their parents try to teach them. It is all going on. What seems like an ignorable offence, can sometimes leave a denting mark on people’s lives.