I was a bit anxious to meet the little guy. I was told that he keeps smiling, no matter what. I was intrigued! Did he not know that he just lost three of the fingers from his right hand?
It was one afternoon, when Vivek, the coach at Malesemau Slum called the office and informed us that he had to rush one of our kids to hospital. Vivek sounded alarmed and worried. It was about Jaidul, whose infectious smile was well known. It seemed that the little chap accidentally burnt a cracker in his hand. It exploded violently even while it was in his palm, detaching away three of his fingers.
Jaidul wasn’t one of those favorites of the school, but he was popular for his naughtiness. He sat at the last seat, where he enjoyed his mischievous liberty. But the conspicuous attitude of this little chap was the filial attention he gave for his sisters. Jaidul’s family was going through a rough phase. Two weeks back Jaidul’s father was falsely accused of murder and was arrested by the Police. It was a wrong allegation though. The family lived in terror and nobody knew what was happening. It seemed that some political leader was murdered and he was one of the suspects. The arrest brought fear into the slum. Along with Jaidul’s father, others were also picked up by the police.
Since the police was looking for immigrants in the slum, many others were also carried along. No one knew why they were being carried away. We had to offer protection to some for a day. When the police found that he was innocent, they had to leave him. No one knows what transcribed within the prison bars. No one understood the drama.
When I stepped into the clinic along with Vivek, I was torn apart between a care for the boy and the gloom that hung around Jaidul’s father. He sat there, not lifting his head to notice me. Vivek informed me that they were in such trouble since they were only able to deposit Rupees 3000. This was their savings. They have to pay 20,000 more. It seemed that the household, where Jaidul’s father worked, did not pay him for three months. The family was struggling.
Jaidul smiled. His hand in cast was hung to the bed. There were burns all over his chest. He would not be able to clutch his pencil anymore. He will have to learn to use his left hand. I hoped he would not lose his hope. His little body was wriggling for freedom on the bed. He was not accustomed to lie down so long. However there was no inkling of hurt on his face. He just smiled.
A week has passed by, and I was wondering how Jaidul must be doing. I asked Vivek about Jaidul.
Vivek answered: “Jaidul smiles.”