Sunday, September 22, 2013

The School Girl: A Very Short True Story

I live on the first floor. Every morning, with the first rays of sun, I open the windows and the door, enter the balcony and breathe in the fresh morning air.

At 6.15 am yesterday, when I went to the balcony to breathe the morning breeze, I witnessed an endearing sight. A little girl, of around 5-6 years of age, was walking on the road all alone. She wore a tidy school uniform, had a small school bag on her shoulders and walked in great gusto. I watched her with a nostalgic smile. It reminded me of my primary school that I absolutely loved to attend. A car passed her by all of a sudden, without even a honk, startling her. It woke up the lazing dogs on the road. They got up; one of them turned around in reflex just in front of the girl and shook itself vigorously. The girl shrank back in fear, her feet receding as she looked back for someone for help. A young man was on the road around hundred meters away from her. She was relieved and slowly began to trudge ahead making way for herself around the dogs, turning her eyes back frequently to assure that there was someone elder who was coming and would save her in case the dogs attacked.

At 2 pm yesterday, I went to balcony to pour water on the Tulsi plant. As I peered down the road, I saw a young school-girl, of around 13-14 years of age, walking on the road, frequently turning back with a worrisome look on her face. She was returning from school. When I looked behind her, I saw a young rough-cut lad advancing towards her with a sly smile on his face. The same bunch of stray dogs was idling on the road. As soon as she went nearer to them, she hurriedly took out her lunch box and threw crumbs of breads towards them. They huddled around her and howled in delight as they ate those crumbs. She looked back at the man who was following her; he had stopped around 100 meters from her and was pretending to talk on his mobile phone. She walked off, this time a little slowly, relieved, and the dogs marched behind her in hope and anticipation. I looked at the man. His nefarious smile had turned into a disappointed scowl. After a few minutes, he turned back after putting his Chinese phone into his pocket.

I could not resist throwing off a mug full of water at the lecher, while he was returning dejectedly. I felt happy but the happiness was short-lived. The unanswered question haunted me. When will men reclaim their positions above dogs?