Monday, 28 July 2008

Flowers at the Red Light

Last and breezy... driving back from the Old Delhi railway station with the windows of my Grand old M800 rolled down, I had to stop at the ITO red light ... lost in thought and reflecting on my life, the bomb blasts et all ... life can sometimes seem so bleak! My friend sitting beside me was anxious about me having to drive all the way to Gurgaon- alone at "late" in the night and I was truthfully numb to his concerns, almost completely lost in my thoughts when I was snapped back to reality by a small voice: "Didi phool le lo na". Looking out, I saw a small girl of about 8 looking at me, a glimmer of hope in her eyes. Holding up 3 bracelet sized chains of bela or jasmine flowers ... she looked again "Didi le lo naa" - more emphasis more hope. I looked at the little face again, something had me transfixed- here was this kid doing her best to assist her family and doing it sincerely- 11:00pm and she was still at the streets selling little chains of flowers to earn money - no thought to education; no high aspirations; no real comfort; no real sense of security; faced with the harsh conditions of life and yet the innocence was not lost. I asked her how much - "Dus rupiye ke teen came the reply" ... I looked at her again and rummaged around for my wallet. The light turned green; those behind me grew restless by the second and horns started blaring ... I could see a hint of apprehension in the girls eye and could not bear the thought of disappointing her. Quickly took out a Rs 10 note from the glove compartment and took the flowers from her. A fleeting look at the little one and I could see the glow of joy on her face - and in her smile and eyes - it was as if she had just found a pot of gold!

Moving before those behind me decided to come out of their vehicles to clobber me, I drove on. Somehow my line of thought had changed - Life isn't bleak. There will be numerous reasons to loathe things around you but one genuine smile and warmth in the heart can work miracles!

And, oh yes! those flowers definitely smelt sweeter than usual.