I got down from the bus heaving my bag. Yes, I had only one bag but it was heavy. As I edged towards the gate of my colony. I saw a pair of eyes observing me, it was Rocket my maid’s son. I smiled at him and went on.
‘You need some help?’, he asked.
I looked at him, a thin scrawny fellow who didn’t even reach my waist was offering me help.
‘Will you be able to carry this bag’, I asked.
‘I can try’, he said.
‘Hold my mobile and the house keys’, I said. I had kept those in the bag itself but for him I fished them out and gave it to him. He gave a smile and walked erect. Maybe he was feeling important.
When we reached my house he opened the door for me and stood by the side. I went in, kept my bag down and saw him still standing outside.
‘Come in’, I said.
He came reluctantly.
I gave him water to drink. ‘Why are you called Rocket, is it your real name?’, I asked
‘No, he said with a grin. When I was small, I used to crawl very fast and so I was called Rocket. My name in school is Ganesh’.
My maid Jayamma had told me that her son was sharp. Studying in third standard, he usually came first in both studies and sports.
‘Why you didn’t go home after school’, I asked.
‘Ma is working, I forgot my keys. So till she comes home, I have to pass my time’, he said.
‘You can stay here, I said, ‘Did you eat anything?’
He nodded a no.
I got food in a plate and kept it on the table. ‘Come have some food’, I said.
‘There?’, he asked.
I said, ‘Yes’
‘Ma sits there?’, he asked.
I was shocked at his direct question. And a bit ashamed too. Though Jayamma and me share a cordial relationship, I had never invited her to sit with me on the couch or share the table.
‘No’, I said.
‘Then I shall sit here itself’, said he.
He polished off the food in no time. I asked him to show his books, they were all beautifully covered and they showed the love of the owner. None of the books had a torn page or cover, His handwriting was neat and here and there ‘Good’, ‘Excellent’, were written. then I noticed his dress. He wore a neat uniform. Jayamma may be a maid but she was always neat and so was her son.
I remembered my own children who used to throw their books here and there, who cribbed about their food always and here was a boy who at the age of eight was a man in his own right.
We spent some good time together. He doing his homework and studies, me doing my chores occasionally exchanging tidbits of our lives. It was 4 p.m. when Jayamma came to wash the utensils and saw Rocket.
‘You again forgot to take your keys’, she asked.
‘It is alright, Jayamma and from now on let him come and stay here in the afternoon after finishing school. And you come and join me for some tea’, I said pointing to a chair next to me.
She looked at me in shock while a smile broke out on Rocket’s face.
Later Jayamma finished her work and Rocket too waved a bye and went to their home.
I looked on. Today I felt at peace, a boy of eight had opened windows in my heart.
This post has been written for Wednesday prompts at Write tribe. The prompt being the picture of the boy
Image courtesy: Morgue File