The Hungry Boy
Skin stretched over his ribcage
My eyes moistened looking at his feeble image.
Sweeping the floor of Borivali Fast
Approaching me with his hands outstretched.
His palms were stroking his sucked in stomach
Emaciated body shackled by hunger.
Eyes beckoning me to help his cause
I melted by his form.
Rained a few toffees in his tiny hand
And handed a bag of grapes secured by a rubber band.
His eyes lit up like a star-lit light
His smile, Oh, It was a one-time sight.
He walked to his mother, handed the food to her
She voraciously dumped some of it in her mouth
And also fed her younger kid
While the hungry boy just looked on.
I was shocked at his mother’s behaviour.
Calling the boy back, I gave him a sandwich that I had.
He sat, but did not eat.
On asking him the reason, he replied-
‘They’re my only family, I can forego food and my health
But I can never give up on them
Because in this big bad world,
My family is my wealth.’
‘Thank You Didi*’, that’s the last he said
I was overwhelmed by his act
And thought that on this life’s stage
He was a boy whose maturity defied barrier of age.
Butterflies must still be rumbling in his empty stomach
He wasn’t sad, for I saw the satisfaction in his eyes
On going hungry for a sibling and his mother
Thus keeping his family ties alive.
Family’s happiness filled his stomach to the core.
He wasn’t hungry anymore.
(28 August 2006)