It was a hot sultry afternoon and since there were a lot of sundry errands I set out to do, in spite of the heat. After quite a few things were done, I felt thirsty so stopped at a little hole-in-the-wall kind of place to have a drink. As I was sipping my drink, a Mother and her two little sons aged about ten and eight stopped by and the boys wanted ice-cream. As they got their cups, one of them took out the cover and threw it into the bin. No sooner had he done that when a little boy in tattered clothes just ran to the bin, picked up the ice cream cover and started licking it. The Mother called out to the little fellow (an underprivileged child, I will not call him poor, as he may be rich in other things, I’ll call him Richie Rich) and told him not to lick it and gave him a five rupee coin to eat something. The older of her sons asked her, “What’s it Ma?”, to which his mother said , “He’s licking the cover so I asked him not to do it”. “So why the coin?” His Mother said, “So that he can eat something”. “He wants ice cream Ma, so buy him a cup,” said the son.
The Mother looked at me, smiled and I too smiled back. Then the littler of her two sons tells her to buy Richie Rich the same flavour. Then he asks the boy, “Same flavour no, it’s good,” and Richie Rich nodded in agreement. The Mother bought the ice cream and gave it to the boy. I gathered that it cost her FORTY RUPEES, when she paid for it. The three little boys were enjoying the ice cream, but Richie Rich was enjoying it the most, the sounds he was making and the way he was looking at the full cup of ice cream. After finishing my drink I walked away. We were three adults who didn’t speak a word to each other, but perhaps all of us felt that little children taught us something that day. What it was perhaps each one of us understood in our own way. Was it sharing, love, caring, and empathy, whatever one may call it. But it was definitely a lesson in being HUMAN.
– Dr.Shireen Hussain