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The story begins with a conclusion. A conclusion that I made to use ‘He’ for him, after being highly doubtful that which pronoun would be apt for that being I encountered.

7th February it was, I remember. And that’s because one of the kids there had asked me if I had already offered a rose to my beloved. I remember dismissing his question with the words that I regret saying,

 “You should rather be aware of when days like Mother’s Day and Father’s Day are. Do any of you know, children?”

They responded- not with words but with silence. It was a silence - to which I, unintentionally, became the cause . I could have mentioned any other Day- Republic Day, Independence Day, Labours Day or maybe Martyrs Day! But two of the most fragile days slipped off from my mouth.

To be true, the fragility was not in those days, but in that moment; I was standing in an Orphanage.

I must blame movies for the intention I was suffering from at the time I was present in the orphanage. The reason for going there was the social service group, I had recently joined. Accompanied by two of my friends, I was there to learn about and help out the kids, in whatever way we could. The occasion was a special one- the only day in the year when the parents (if any) were allowed to meet their kid. The Meeting Day.

That was the reason. It’s difficult to admit but the intention, the intention I was a victim of, was to find something… something even a slight bit of creepy or menacing- like some sinister kids I had seen in ‘The Ring’ and ‘The Orphan’, with their white gowns and long black hair, waiting to be taken away and create real big trouble in some household! 

Gosh! I was childish! But at that moment, in front of me was a little girl who was still a bit emotional, even after my efforts to divert the kids from the slip of my tongue. I had talked about the days of national importance, and had even tried with festivals, but she hardly got distracted.

It was fortunate that the caretaker of the orphanage had made the call for the kids to assemble in the front lawn. The call was made only for those children whose parents had arrived or, in near time, were going to arrive there. The rest were asked to lay the mats and sit down for their lunch. The three of us decided to stay with parentless kids only, and have food with them.

That girl was still unmoved. I bent down to her and lifted her in my arms. I decided to take her for a stroll on the terrace and try to calm her down.

What’s your name?”, I started, climbing up the stairs.

My name is Disha. I study in class II-E”, she replied, rubbing her eyes with her soft hands.

That amused me. I continued, “You like your school?”

She nodded her head and said, “I like it very much. I have many friends there.”

I put forward similar short questions to her and she replied promptly. The girl seemed composed. She even laughed at some of the light-hearted jokes I cracked.

Now we should go down and have some food”, I said to her.

I turned back towards the stairs and was about to step down, when I heard a murmur from her mouth. I looked at her and saw her pointing towards someone.

It was ‘He’. He was sitting knee-bent, peeping off from a terrace corner, witnessing the proceedings of the Meeting Day in the front lawn. I could only see His back.  

Who’s he?”, I asked Disha.

The little girl didn’t respond. I decided to call for Him and shouted, “Hey boy!”

He didn’t respond either.

I did the same again, only to get the same response from Him.

I went towards Him, and put my hand gently on His shoulder, “Hey, what are you doing here?”

And then, He turned his face towards me. It was a face I won’t forget. It was boyish, but unfortunately… girlish.

Ah! I was sorry for him.

An identity without a defined masculinity! Or a life without dignity. Their existence has no meaning.

That’s not fair, Lord. That’s not fair. Why did you make such a class?” I felt like cursing God, “Only to be left out, and ignored in this insane world? Or to run at traffic lights and marriages, begging for a living that anyhow would be meaningless?”

I moved my hand tenderly over His head as He greeted me with a smile. I smiled in return, only feeling pity for Him.

I sat down beside Him, to have a talk, but He seemed least interested.  He, again, started peeping down at the proceedings.

I decided not to intervene with Him, and got up to go to Disha. Lifting her up, I murmured,“ But what is He doing there?”

He is waiting for His mum to come”, the girl replied, as I started descending down the stairs.

But why doesn’t he go down and wait there?” I asked further.

The other kids mock at Him”, she replied in a low voice.

I looked up to the Lord, hearing that.

As we came down, I made Disha seated among her fellows, so that she could have food with them. Dismissing the call of my friends to have food too, I decided to go to the lawn outside, to see what was going on.

I stepped down there. As was expected, it was a joyous place. It was a beautiful sight to see the smiling faces, some wetted by tears,some of the parents’ faces, and some playfully laughing faces of the kids. Somewhere, a father was feeling proud seeing the flashy trophy his son had won in the recent inter-school hockey tournament, while somewhere, a mother was singing over the tunes her child was playing on a keyboard.  The gratefulness of the parents towards that progressive orphanage could very well be seen from their faces. It had done everything, they felt, that they being a single parent could not have done for their child.

There were mothers who were moving their hands gently over their kids, resting in their laps. While some were hugging their kids who had rushed to them, having their first glimpse even before entering the orphanage premises.

But there was one, standing in a corner, waving, looking up towards the terrace…

So there she is!”, I felt elated. But her condition seemed bad. She was wearing ragged clothes, and her hair appeared shabby, and undone since ages. Her face was wrinkled, not because of age, but ill-health and poverty.

I looked up in the direction of the terrace and saw Him, now standing, waving energetically. His face appeared brighter than the sun visible beside Him.

I must take her to the terrace!”, I decided. I went up to her and grabbed her gently, “Come Amma, I’ll take you to your child.”

She slowly moved her head to me and looked at my face. She seemed expressionless. Making my way in the crowded place, I started moving inside, with her besides me.

Hey, where are you taking her?”, came a voice, as I had taken a few steps. It was the caretaker. He came towards us.

Sir, I am taking her to her son”, I responded.

What?” he seemed surprised, “Come with me.”

He took me a few steps from the old woman and started, “This woman… She has been coming here every year to celebrate this day. She just stands at the gates, and waves her hand looking at the terrace. It was there, from where her child used to wave her. ”

Used to wave? What do you mean sir? He is still there!”, I remarked.

Ah.. c’mon”, he responded, ”How can that be so! It has been 7 years…it’s very difficult to admit. He ran away from the orphanage and has never returned…”

What?”, I was completely shocked.

Yes… he…he…”, it was hard for him to say,” He complained to me many times. The kids used to make fun of Him. I talked to the kids regarding Him a couple of times, but the conditions didn’t go better. Nevertheless, He complained to me, but I started ignoring Him. I couldn’t tell the kids what He was- A boy or a girl.” Tears started flowing from the caretaker’s eyes.

And then… one morning… we all woke up…only to find Him missing from His bed.” He was now completely in tears.

But He is standing there on the terrace! I have seen Him!”, I said, “And by the way, even that little girl… that girl in 2nd class, Disha, was with me when I saw Him..”

What are you talking, I just can’t understand”, he said, wiping off his tears, “There’s no one named Disha in our orphanage.”

Now you are kidding me! Admit it!”, I said, “Wait! Where has that woman gone?”

I knew where she might have gone. Turning off from the caretaker, I rushed towards the staircase. It was hard to make way through the crowd, and that made me push some of them.

As I was about to step up the stairs, I saw the old woman coming down from the other end. On her face gleamed a satisfaction, a pleasure of contentment that… that can only be noticed on a mother’s face, who had embraced her child… after ages…


I went up the stairs only to find nobody there.


Who was ‘He’? Was ‘He’ actually her child, who used to return to that orphanage on that day, every year and make his mother believe that He was still living in that orphanage, safe and sound, and plant a belief in her that she should live one more year… to come and see Him… again….


Or was ‘He’ the Almighty Lord whose fairness I doubted, towards this class of human. But actually, the Lord feels no disgrace, in taking the form of a human, whose masculine and feminine characters are not separable, to content a mother… that her child is still alive in front of her eyes….


As far as Disha is concerned, I think her name justified her existence… She was there to show me the way…the way to a dark corridor of life, that I was completely unaware of…

BIO: An engineering graduate, who loves to travel and watch movies. Believes in God and Life.


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