Saturday, March 15, 2014

The kid who sold guavas

Previous Episode

There's this cobbler who sits at the end of the street at White Fields, besides Fresh supermarket.

I left the office early to get my shoe stitched as the bottom layer of the shoe was coming off. The bottom layer of my shoe had given me some trouble earlier as well and I had used fevi-stick to temporarily keep it in place. But now I had run out of fevi-stick and patience.
He smiled at me when he saw me walk in his direction. He was working on another pair of shoe, rubbing the sole of that shoe and then applying his glue to keep it in place. He left it to dry for sometime. I took out the shoe of my left foot and showed him the problem, and asked him to stitch it up as stitching even lasts during rainy days but he said it can't be stitched, only glued. Owing to his past good work that he had done for my other shoe, I asked him to glue it up.
While he worked, I looked around. It was unusual for me to wake up and be out of my apartment by 9:30 am. It felt good, starting the day early. I saw a boy, 10 years old I guess, who was standing with his wheel-cart of guavas and asking the passers by if they'd like a guava rubbed with red salt. While I stared at him cutting the guava from one side while retaining the cut pieces together on the other side, and offering it to a man who was carrying his daughter in his lap and asking her if she'd like to have some. She nodded her head in disagreement. He paid and left, and the kid looked in the direction of the cobbler, and saw me staring at him. I looked away.
The cobbler tried to say something to him but i couldn't understand his signs, but the boy did. But another prospective customer had come and bought a couple of guavas. While I saw him deal with that customer, I heard the cobbler call me. I turned and looked down at him looking up at me, smiling and holding my shoe to me. I took it, tried to find any gaps between the bottom layer of the shoe and rest of the shoe but it was sealed tight.
How much, I asked.
20, he said.
I was glad he asked more than he had asked last time and happily paid him.
While walking away I avoided looking at the kid selling guava, afraid he might ask me to try one piece. I was right, he did, and I said no and walked away. Only to turn back after taking few steps because my stomach was growling with hunger.
i didn't ask him how much, I nodded in agreement when he asked me if he should slide one guava for me. I stood there and enjoyed each piece of guava rubbed with red salt. It felt good and once again I felt grateful for food in my life.
Once I was done, I asked him, how much. I think he said Rs. 10 and I sifted through the contents of my wallet, including lots of ATM receipts that I think I'll use to note down any brilliant idea that I migth get while sitting in an auto or walking on the road. I gave out Rs. 10 to him but stood there for few seconds more. I took off my bag from my shoulders and held it in my hand, still uncertain whether I should do it, or not.
What the hell, I thought, it doesn't matter if I am few pieces short! Anyways its first come first served.
So I unzipped my bag, put my hand deep inside it, felt for those silver foiled chocolates especially made by my sister for me to eat and share, and took out two of them and held them out for the boy.
The boy looked at me and smiled. Nodded in refusal but continued to smile. I held it close to him. He looked at the cobbler who nodded in agreement. He took them, opened one of them and relished them. He was smiling broadly now. Gave me a chance to smile too. I zipped up my bag and started to walk away when he called me out and offered me another guava. I refused and walked away.
That moment I felt like superman, walking away after saving someone. Of course what I did wasn't very grand but I was proud that I could bring smile on someone's face despite myself being very shy and timid person, and someone who doesn't share things easily.
Now that my mood was uplifted, I wasn't upset anymore about going back to work after a long vacation at home!
On my way I wondered, what if I had taken another guava and given him some more chocolates in return...