Morning I get up and decide to visit Ashu. It was now many weeks that I visited him. My plan for the morning was made, a visit to Ashu’s place, then his school and back to office!!!
He was standing behind the curtain, shyly. I could see a part of his white shirt protruding out from the side-ways of the curtain. I smiled and called him softly, “Ashu, come here, you big boy. Will you not meet your uncle? I am here for only few minutes as I have to go to office too.” He came out with his head down, walking reluctantly towards me.
His mom, from the kitchen remarked, “He becomes so happy when you visit us. He never forgets you inspite of the fact that you usually visit after such long gaps. It’s strange because he usually forgets people if he does not meet them for 4-5 days. I don’t know why he is so much shy today”
Ashu looked into my eyes spreading his hands out, muttering,”Brrcle”. I hugged him and he rested his cheek on my shoulder. This was one of the warmest hug I had got in past so many days. I felt light and touched. I asked him to sit beside me but he outstretched his palm. Suddenly, that made me remember to put the chocolate I brought for him, on his hand. He looked at his mom who gestured not to eat it right now. He put it into his school bag, looked at me and smiled while squinting his small eyes.
I held him around his back and said, “You don’t seem to be doing your regular exercises Ashu. What’s this?” He mumbled something which I couldn’t make out. His mom answered, putting the breakfast plates on the table, “He eats too much and don’t know when to stop. Look Ashu, Uncle is also complaining. You should listen to me now”. Ashu smiled at me trying to hide his face behind my back. I handed over his plate to him and he started eating in such a way as though this was the last piece of food on earth. I kept watching him while he forgot everything around him. His full concentration was on having his breakfast. Finishing, he opened the casserole to take more but his mom shouted, “No Ashu. This is enough. Tie your laces or else you will fall and go wash your hands.”
A van honked twice, from outside. Ashu hanged his water bottle on his shoulder and hurried outside with his mom. I also followed them. The gate of the van opened and all the children in the van started shouting and waving. They all looked like Ashu. Ashu sat at the window and kept waving his hand at me, laughing aloud and muttering something fiercely. I was looking at the picture painted on the van’s front which said, “Little Flowers – School for Special Children”
The van soon disappeared into the next street. His mom turned back with a trickle of tear in her eyes. She still is unable to accept that her son is mentally retarded.
I too bid her goodbye and move on to visit Ashu’s school!!!