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Yielding to a child
Magnificent India

Yielding to a child

Vijay Sanghvi

Bobby Mathur, former bureau chief of Indian Express was standing under the front portico of a mall with his wife Saroj. Both could not risk walking through the heavy downpour. In the first week of July, rains were expected to descend suddenly. But storms were unusual and the downpour was exceptionally heavy by Delhi standards.

Mathur noticed a four year old girl standing to his left. Her auburn hair was attractive and neatly cut to shoulder length to add to her natural beauty. Bobby could not see her eyes but uncannily felt sure that her eyes also must be light green like the young woman standing next to the girl. Bobby believed that she might be the mother of the pretty child. She was perhaps a few years below thirty but her hair was black in colour.

Suddenly the young girl pulled the hand of the young woman and said in sweet voice, ‘Mummy let us run through to our car.” The response of her mother was also in sweet tone. She said softly, “No Preiti, we cannot run in such heavy rain, we both will be soaked fully in rain water. Even otherwise running will be dangerous with so much water.”

But again the child said,” Oh Mom. You forgot what you said at the hospital this morning? You said God will see us through everything.” Her words made her mother pause for a second. She immediately said, “I remember it. Preiti, let us run and get soaked in the rain. It does not matter. I am sure God will not allow you to fall sick.” Holding the hand of the young child, both dashed off. In two minutes both reached the car. The woman did not have to struggle to find her keys. Perhaps she was holding the key in her other hand as she asked her daughter to run.

Bobby envied the pair. His urge was to run like the two as his car was even nearer. He looked wishfully at Saroj as if to suggest the adventure. But he suddenly remembered that both knees of his wife were operated not just six months ago. Both waited for half an hour to let the rain water drain off.

But a thought kept Bobby nagging how a young mother could risk running through a heavy downpour with ankle deep swirling waters just to keep up the demand of a four year child? He saw the young mother again under the same portico. He walked up to her, greeted her and introduced himself. Bobby was by then retired and looked old though without white hair on his head. He asked her, ‘What was your compulsion to yield to your daughter’s demand to rush through soaking rain?’ Shikhambari explained. We both had gone to the hospital that morning for medical checkup of my husband because our family doctor suspected he has potential mouth cancer. As I pushed him inside the ultrasound machine, I automatically prayed also. My words were caught by my daughter. “If we pass safely this ordeal, I am sure God will see us through all other difficulties.”

On that day my daughter remembered my words. Her eagerness was infectious as it reflected her immense faith in my prayer. I could not allow myself to disappoint her and disturb her immense faith in my prayer. It was her faith in me and my prayer that prompted me to take the risk. We ran through the heavy rain. But I took every precaution to towel her completely, give her a hot chocolate drink and put her to bed right away. Even though I was also completely soaked, I could not change till I put her in bed. Thank God the rain water did not affect me either.

Did I do right? She asked in a solemn tone. Bobby could not answer. His smile answered Shikhambari who was a manager in a large departmental store. Bobby extended his hand for a warm handshake but on second thought he raised his hand to salute the young working mother for her instant decision to keep up the faith of her young daughter in her prayer.