Saddened by Balloons

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Yes, feeling saddened by balloons… Surprising, but every day I cross the Pakwan Signal to and fro from my office, the sight of the polka dotted balloons makes me a wee bit sad.

It so happened that these are new balloons with polka dots, not tied but wrapped around a plastic straw; a real delight for the eyes are a beauty to hold. I had my eyes on them for quite a few days, wanting to buy a few. But normally ignored my wish and drove my two-wheeler away each and every day. But, finally I knew I had to give in to my urge and buy a few of the balloons.

Now my daughter is in college, so I felt that let me buy some for a friend’s niece and nephews. One day I stopped after crossing the signal, called a small about 8-9 year old girl and asked her the price of the balloon. Within a second I was surrounded by almost 6-7 balloon sellers from 6 year old to the eldest who was a young teenage mother,  let me call her “Lakshmi”. The price was Rs. 20/- per balloon. The one who I had approached, let me call her “Anamika”, said that she would give me 2 for Rs. 30/- even when I didn’t negotiate. I assume that the whole gang is together in selling the balloons. So this Lakshmi dominates all and finalizes to give me 3 balloons for Rs. 50/-. Now as I had stopped Anamika for my purchase, so I select 2 balloons from her and one from Lakshmi. I give the Rs. 50/- note in the hand of Lakshmi.

And the drama unfolds. Anamika asks for Rs 30/- for her two balloons. So, I ask Lakshmi to give Anamika her Rs 30/-; as I don’t have change. She tells me that she will give, I insist that she do so right in front of me, Anamika is begging for her money, I am confused, perplexed as to what is happening; the whole traffic and commotion around,  I start driving away. But this young child Anamika is confident that her money is gone and cries in a very loud voice, which is very much audible with traffic honking all around. I stop after driving almost 25 feet and turn back to look. Oh God! Anamika is lying on the road and crying loudly for her money. I look at Lakshmi, and she is totally ignoring Anamika and going her way.

What am I supposed to do? I have paid for the balloons I bought, but one corner of my heart feels that I have betrayed Anamika by not giving her the money. The road side vendor advises me to move on, as it is regular drama for him, and I do so, but with a heavy heart. I decide to give Rs 40/- to Anamika the next time I see her at the signal, and forget the episode for that day. Next day, next day, next day ….. almost a fortnight has gone, and everyday my eyes are searching for Anamika, who is not seen till day.  Now, the sight of the balloons make me sad, I long to find Anamika and give her due, maybe someday I will find her. Till then I pray and send her love and peace, hope that someone better than me has found her, and I wish from the bottom of my heart that she gets educated and has a bright future.

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