Her little fingers leave a sticky, brown impression on the glass. She continues to beat at the glass, looking not at me but looking right through me. Her attention is suddenly diverted. She can make out her blurred image in the glass and is fascinated by it. She stares at the image and sings softly. The words barely audible, a tune meant only to satisfy her soul.
I try and avoid her eyes, looking straight without a flicker of empathy. But I wonder where she really is right now – is she dreaming of being on the other side of the glass or simply enjoying a full sumptuous meal. Or maybe, she is dancing and singing in complete abandon, with her parents watching out after her. A faint smile reaches the corners of her mouth and then again she is lost in her reverie. Wait on, what if today is her birthday and she is at her birthday party alongwith her friends. Colorful presents sit on one side of the room and a lavish spread awaits her.
Suddenly a small boy appears from behind her and places his palm at my car window too. She is back to reality, shaken out of her other world. He twirls his cap in full circle, nudging her to do her bit. She goes into a cartwheel and back flips before reappearing at my window. I cannot help but look her straight in the eyes. Eyes so young but stripped of their innocence. Black pools that fall into infinity. Aah, this is what she was waiting for, to catch my eyes. Now she has a chance and beams her super 1000 watt smile and says ” Aye didi, kuch to dedona. Bhook laagi hai” ( meaning – give me some money. I am hungry). I smile back, hand over the box of chocolates I was carrying to share with friends. Her friend, who had been busy till now with his act comes around instantly to see what she got and then from almost nowhere, another 5 feet appear, greedily eyeing the box. She sprints to the right as the light turns green with a small following behind her. I turned to take one final look at her and saw them all together, getting their hands on what they could.
I continue on my way. I have somewhere to reach, something to do and for all my efforts at being smart, the truth is I could not even figure out where she really was.