Inspired by a real life 5 year old I met one monsoon at a school for slum kids,
you’d never forget ‘Raju’ the school called him. His folks called him ‘chokra’ for street boy. There was no hatred at his home, only the face of poverty, the numbing face of sleepless days and nights. His parents were construction workers.
When Raju first arrived in a pair of oversized torn shorts, shirtless and with eyes like tiny thunder, he wouldn’t speak. I was story telling art teacher; we did some fun things, enacting Jesu in the boat. Raju loved being the storm.
By the third day we knew he loved drawing – with one crayon, the black one. He drew thick circles in black, then some more. Pages of black circles.
I was recovering from 3 years of a fever no one could diagnose, it could’ve been anything, but I was there every morning as a part of my own ‘get well’ project;
It was, is an unforgettable thing – to experience that sinking feeling of instability, physical failing, & be in a ‘Gully’ that thick with hope.
Lil Raju and I became speechless friends as we learned the power of blue against black, or orange with grey, yellow with maroon. He called me “didi”, big sis.
Every morning he was there, waiting for Art class, and drama, in the street opposite the tea shop.
On the last day I ever saw him he clutched my hand and said, “Didi mujhe ghar leke jao” (didi, take me home)
I loved him with all my heart, and I couldn’t take him home with me. There were at least 50 others like him but ofcourse Raju was the one no one liked. He was full of lice, his fingers were quick, he knew how to steal, he understood the street, he was scary to most. To me he was that little baby boy I couldn’t take home. But forever and ever he lives in my heart.
“The boy with no name” is a fantasy offering that has little pieces of my own life woven in its prayers for joy, for all our streets, infested with poverties of more horrific proportions than we could’ve guessed. Do watch if you have the moment: return to childhood, listen again to that Still Small Voice that ceaselessly whispers to the heart of a child within us, or around. If there’s a kid (or kiddy- like human:) in your home, or neighbourhood, do share. This is the second episode. (Part I, U tube, also below).
Wishing you ‘The Light of the World.’