In the industrial township, our routine was generally the same everyday. 8 o’ clock, all the men went to work, and generally all the ladies were busy in house hold work. Those days I was living on the first floor of a hostel block. There were six two room flats on each floor connected to each other by a 40 feet long lobby. Mostly at half past ten or eleven o’ clock, we ladies were extremely busy in preparing lunch and during this time period we let the kids out in the lobby where they used to play. Out of six families, which used to live on the first floor, only four families had kids. My family was among those four. All the kids were below three years of age. The youngest one was Barsha, just one year and five months old. Her mind and body was so fast that even her parents could not keep up with her, and naturally, had lot of problems managing her. So at about eleven o’ clock everyday, her mother habitually placed her in a walker and tied the walker with a strong rope. Rest of the three kids, including my son, would play and run around in the lobby. Poor Barsha, called them or shouted at them to draw their attention towards herself. I always felt bad for the poor girl. One or two times I asked her mother to untie her, but she said that she is not like other children. If she leaves her then she will surely fall down from the staircase. At that time I thought that though children are innocent and careless, they still have a basic instinct of safety. They don’t go near animals, objects or even places that scare them or will hurt them; like kids don’t go near fire or dogs. I thought that if the atmosphere around them is unknown, any kid would always stick with their parents. Everyday the three kids played. Many times their ball or toys would fall down the staircase but they never dared to climb the staircase down. In such situations they always asked for our help.
One day, out of mercy I untied Barsha. The moment I untied her walker, she tried to run and eventually fell down. I bent down to help her get up on her two legs, but before I could do that, she crawled out of the walker. Her mother was spreading a wet bed sheet on the lobby railing. Barsha started running with her full speed. Her mother screamed, “Oye! Barsha!!” I didn’t understand the situation at that instant. But soon I realized that Barsha was running towards the staircase. Her mother started running behind her. I was still confused but I decided to run after Barsha too. My speed was better than Barsha and her mother. Barsha’s mother was right. Barsha was heading towards the staircase. But before she could raise her feet in the air to step down on the staircase, I grabbed her. Her mother, who was also running to catch her couldn’t stop due to her sheer inertia. She jumped to avoid a collision and fell down the stairs.
Two days later, I made some hot soup for Barsha’s mother. I went to her flat. She was on the bed with blue and black patches on her thighs and back. She was very lucky (or insanely strong for that matter) that she didn’t have any of her bones fractured. She tried to sit up on the bed. I helped her and then fed her the soup. She finally said in a very faint voice, “Why did you untie her?” “I’m ashamed and genuinely sorry for what I’ve done.” I replied. From that day onwards, I promised myself that I would never interfere between ma and daughter.