The child was not more than 6. He was looking at me repeatedly with hope. I wanted to take out something from my bag and give him something. But then I realised; I don’t have anything in my bag, not even a pen to offer.
I looked at his mother; she looked a bit disturbed. Someone who chose her dream but kept returning empty handed. I realised, if I offered anything to the child, the mother might accuse me of something and try to extort money. She looked that kind of lost, like a drug addict. She didn’t seem to be an addict, but she had the lost look.
The street boy approached the older man sitting next to me on the park bench. The elderly man tells the that he has some goodies in his bag, incidentally the old man knew the boy and his mother. The sweet kid got his stuff and thanked and backed off looking at me. I wondered why is he trying to please me?
The old man started talking to me, saying the mother is spoiling the child’s life. He says he tried to fix a job for the mother, but she prefers to roam around and doesn’t like her freedom to be curtailed, by a job.
The old man said, once a life goes off track it’s next to impossible to get life on tracks, suddenly I felt an eerie similarity between myself and the woman. I also don’t like to be tied down. The mother had left her husband for another man, he said. However, this new man she chose also didn’t have any money. He blamed the woman for choosing the wrong man again.
I got up and said to the elderly man; I have to get moving. The elderly man didn’t understand my abrupt urge to go and not want to listen to his story about the street kid and his mom.
It’s a bit scary, getting to know completely strange people on a park bench. Maybe it’s a trap for extortion or maybe he was just sharing his story. But mumbai you cannot trust totally.