Have you heard this song?
“Ghar se masjid bahut door hai chalo yun kar len,
Kisi rote hue bacche ko hansaya jaye.”
(Meaning in English:
The prayer place is so far away from home,
Let us just make a crying child smile.)
Recently I felt the joy of making a crying child smile. It was Friday. I had just taken my bath. I was about to start my prayers when I heard my next door neighbour’s 7 to 8 years old kid (boy) ringing the bell in his house. A few minutes later, he called, “Mum.” After a few minutes he called her again. Then again and repeatedly thereafter. I thought probably his mother was in the bathroom and would be out soon. While I was about to resume my prayers, I heard his call again! I got curious and concerned and went out.
He was a cute little kid with a large backpack on his back. He was leaning sideways on the wall. I asked him softly what happened. His eyes were filled with tears. I realised I had to be really soft and tender while dealing with him. We have been living in this house for last seven months but have never spoken. He must not even know who stays in the apartment attached to his home. I acted casual and asked, “Hey, mum’s not opening the door huh?” He wiped his eyes and murmured something. I asked him if we should press the bell again. I did. He was observing me. I asked him if he knew his mother’s mobile number. He gave me a number. He was scared and sad at the same time. He looked so timid. I asked him if he would like to come inside my home and wait with me for his mother. He denied. I went in to bring my mobile phone keeping the door wide open, so that he doesn’t feel miserable again standing alone outside. I dialled the number and introduced myself to the lady who picked it up. I kept the phone on speaker, so that he knows what is going on. Sadly, what he gave me was a wrong number. I was confused. I offered to hold his bag and wait with him outside as it was heavy. He denied.
Suddenly an idea struck! I asked him if he has his school identity card or the school diary. I knew there I would be able to find some number that worked. He gave me his Student ID Card. It had 2 mobile numbers. From the ID card, I also realised that my next door neighbours are Japanese. I dialled both the numbers and didn’t get any response from both. The numbers kept ringing. However, I repeatedly tried 3 to 4 times and finally one number was received. It was a male voice. I introduced myself and asked him if he was the resident of that particular building. He confirmed with a yes. I told him what was happening and gave the phone to his son. He talked to his father and told him all the details how he came home early (he comes home early on Fridays, he said) and was waiting outside and his mum wasn’t home. His father must have comforted him enough. He gave the phone to me. His father told me that he would call his wife and find out and get back to me in a while. I said, “Excellent. I would wait for your call.” Meanwhile, I started small talks with him. He told me that he has a small brother too. Their bicycles are kept in front of their door. We talked about cycling and who likes what kind of ride etc. We both smiled and laughed. His father called and informed that his mother has entered the building campus (ours is a huge campus with three massive apartment towers) and should be home in a few minutes. I gave the phone to Riki (changed name of the kid) so that he could hear this information from his father himself. We both continued our conversation on bicycles and shared our stories. We even laughed. He still didn’t want to come inside my home. It was fine with me. I could understand his apprehension. So, I waited with him outside for his mother. Ten minutes later his mother came and thanked me. I said it was my pleasure. That day I felt great being there for the kid! It was indeed my pleasure to keep him company. It was as fulfilling as praying to the almighty! #gratitude