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As I was turning to leave the “Home”, a little hand touched my finger. It was Raju – his teary eyes shone in his dark complexion. The smile which was otherwise fixed on his face, seemed to have disappeared. I sat down on the ground to match the height of the five year old. He hugged me tight and started sobbing. I have known Raju for the last 3 years but had never seen him break down this way. It broke my heart.
Raju was found on the street, abandoned by his family. A holy Priest who heads a “Home for Abandoned Boys” provided him shelter. After several rounds of enquires, they found his mother was a prostitute who never wanted him. He could not have been given in for adoption as his mother was alive and known. Father welcomed him to the Home and ever since he has been living there. The first time I went to the Home with a contribution, Father asked Raju, just two then to lead the prayer for me. His little lips prayed and the rest 74 followed. Tears built in my eyes for I was sure, there couldn’t be anything more pure than this.
I was always amused on how life teaches you everything. The little baby, who would have otherwise been so pampered, was wearing worn out clothes, he was struggling to tie his own shoe lace and to comb his own hair. The mother in me could never come to terms with their hardship.
Ever since Raju has been special to me. I have hugged him, kissed him and held his hands on several occasion. I had my compulsions and could never bring him home though the thought crossed my mind several times. Little gifts, food packets, sponsoring his school fees was only what I could do for him – nothing beyond.
As he sat with me that day, I noticed him holding my hand more firmly than the other regular days. As I was about to leave, he began sobbing and asked why he was cursed. I froze for a moment not knowing what to answer. He looked through my eyes and asked what wrong he had done for not being as lucky as my daughter. My eyes did not dare to meet his. He finally asked the dreaded question of who his mother was and why she didn’t want him.
It was nearly impossible to explain a four year old what prostitution was all about. It was difficult to explain to him how a mother could leave her child on the street. I had no answer for him. I did not have the courage to give him any false hope. I just held him near me and let him sob his heart out on my lap, comforting and praying for him – maybe that is what a mother can do best.
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