Two shy and gawky tweens stood at the door to the children’s room, keenly observing the game of monopoly being played by a group of similarly aged kids inside. Their father was busy with a re-tiling work in the washroom, and since their school had broken for the holidays, they had accompanied him to work. Sonu saw the boys looking expectantly and called out to them.
“What’s your name”, he asked.
The elder of two smiled broadly and stepped forward, his hand on his chest, “My Mahesha”, he said, and then he placed his hand on his brother’s chest, “My Madesha”.
All the other boys laughed out loudly.
“Shhh...” said Sonu silencing them. “Mahesha, you must say, My name is Mahesha”, he corrected, “and my brother’s name is Madesha. Repeat,” he commanded.
The boy obediently followed.
“Very nice. But doesn’t Madesha speak? You tell your name now”, said Sonu.
The younger boy shyly followed suit.
“Do you want to play with us?” asked Sonu.
“Yes,” they chorused.
“So come in and sit down”, said Sonu asking the other boys to make some space for the two new friends to settle in.
“Cheee, he is sooo dark. Don’t you take bath?” said T covering his nose.
“Stop it T, that is rude”, said Sonu.
“I bath”, said Mahesha.
P and his brother R suddenly got up. “My mom said not to play with servants.”
“Your choice”, said Sonu. “But let me tell you, they don’t bite.”
“We have to take bath again if he touches us...”
“You are going to be missing out on all the fun."
P thought about it for a moment and then choose to continue playing. “Okay, we’ll play but don’t tell my mom”, he begged.
I had made some mango shake for the kids, and served it to them.
“Aunty, these two boys will also drink from these glasses? In our house we have separate glasses for servants”, P enlightened me.
What an education for such a young child, I thought!
“Enjoy the shake”, I said as I left.
The boys played for quite some time till their father was done for the day. By the time they had been ready to leave, they had all become friends. The boys got invited to play cricket the following day.
The next day, as the gang enjoyed their game of cricket, I watched from the balcony, marvelling at how one determined person is enough to change the views of the group.
P’s mother was driving in from work and she saw her boys playing. Her eyes must have immediately caught the two unknown boys and stopped to ask P who they were. As I looked on in utter disbelief, she spoke something to the other boys and then literally dragged her kids home! Later, Sonu told me that she was angry for letting the two boys playing with them. He told her that they were all children of the same God, and it is not right to differentiate between them. She warned her kids against playing with any other kid in the apartment too and took them home.
In this day and age, if an educated, office going, lady could behave like that, imagine the garbage she’s polluting her kids’ minds with!