I saw the kids and they were begging. My mother nudged me trying to tell me to give them the chocolates i had.
As an only child to my parents, my childhood had always been a sheltered one. They, along with my teachers, tried to instil good ethics in me. But ‘sharing' was one moral value which I was never comfortable with. “Why should I give?” was my question.
During one vacation to my hometown, I was at the railway station with my parents. As we were waiting for our train, something caught my attention. Two small children, perhaps siblings, were seeking alms nearby. Though they appeared at ease, I was shocked by their overall untidiness.
Whey they approached us, my father promptly gave the older one, a girl, some money. Those were the days when I was constantly reminded of the virtues of ‘sharing' things with others. So, when my mother nudged me, I knew why and the look my mother gave me, confirmed. I had a pack of my favourite chocolates in my pocket and, even though I pretended to have forgotten about it, she remembered them. I was devastated. With a heavy heart I fished out one and placed it reluctantly on the outstretched hand of the girl. She flashed a smile and the duo moved on. But my gaze never left them as I wanted to know about the fate of my chocolate.
After a while I saw her unwrap it. She then did something which moved me. Without a moment's hesitation, she put the chocolate in her brother's mouth and watched his face brighten up as he savoured it. Her action puzzled me. Why did she not eat it herself? Regret and shame overcame me when I realised that I had deliberately given them only one chocolate. I quickly decided to give her one more chocolate voluntarily. Strangely, my action made me feel better than I had thought.
As our train approached the station, the little girl rushed to give me something: It was a small paper doll which she had made with the wrapper of the chocolates. I was speechless. Was she trying to convey a ‘thank you' ?
Through out the journey, my thoughts were about that girl. Numerous questions came to my mind and I turned to my parents for answers. Now-a-days ‘street children' is a topic that is close to my heart. All of us are aware about the existence of such children and their plight. Charity helps but it is not a long time solution. But education is. Our primary concern should be to get them off the streets. I know these words are easier said than done. But aren't they entitled to a better life like us?
That little girl taught me the joy of sharing and also answered one big question of ‘why should I give?'. I now ask ‘Why not', as sharing is all about loving. Happiness abounds when shared. Years have rolled by and I still cherish that valuable lesson I learnt during that vacation. Sometimes life teaches us things we fail to learn from classrooms. I still think of that girl and her brother and wonder where they would be now…. those sparkling eyes and beautiful smile.