Little did Rahul know that his life would change so drastically. All it needed was to seek help…

Mrs. Mini was caught in the downpour. It was difficult for her to even drive. She had just finished her lecture and was on her way home. Just then, she saw a boy standing on the pavement in the rain. He was in his school uniform and was carrying a heavy school bag. She pulled up close to him and rolled down the window.

“Get in,” she said. He was hesitant.

“Come on,” she said impatiently.

“I'm wet and I might spoil your car,” the boy said.

“Doesn't matter,” she said. “Just get in.”

The boy got into the car and sat awkwardly, holding his bag tight on his lap.

“Where do you live? I will drop you home.”

“Drop me anywhere… I don't want to go home yet.”

She didn't want to be nosy. So she didn't ask any questions. Instead, she drove him to her house. She invited him in.

“Let's have lunch,” she said. “What's your name?”

“Rahul.”

She noticed he looked very sad. Later, when he had relaxed and was enjoying the lunch, she gently asked him, “Why don't you want to go home?”

Rahul looked at her. She does seem to be kind, he thought. May be she will understand.

“My mother is a housemaid and works very hard to make ends meet. My father is a wastrel and a drunk. All he does is get drunk and harass my mother and me. School is worse. My classmates taunt me because my uniform is shabby and smelly. They laugh at me because I do not speak English as well as them. And at lunchtime they turn their faces away from sour-smelling curd rice. I am the ideal target for the bully. I haven't been to school for a week now.”

She was quiet for awhile. Then she said, “Come let's go out. The rain has stopped.”

She bought him new uniforms, shoes, a bag, pencils and pens.

“Every morning you come her and collect your lunch. In the evening also come here and finish your homework.”

Very soon, Rahul was doing well in school.

Years passed and he had completed his degree in Engineering. At the convocation, there were two proud people. One was Mrs. Mini and the other was his mother. Both had played such an important part in Rahul's life.