Her ready smile has more mirth than teeth. She is Sweety, not yet two.
Aryan‘s smile is more confused, not sure of strangers. He is six and needs the support of a frame to stand; whoever carries him has to do the walking.
Sweety is the servant’s daughter, staying in a corner of the building with her parents.
Aryan is visiting, on vacation. His accent reveals that when he speaks a few words now and then.
Sweety is in an old pram, given by someone who needed the space. Her mother pushes her.
Aryan too is here with his mother. He throws a ball from where he manages to stand, wobbling a little. His mother runs to pick up and return the ball. She is doing what he can’t do, for him.
Sweety joins the play. Aryan’s mother gives her the ball and encourages her to throw it towards Aryan. She gets the idea. Her wild throw leaves Aryan looking helplessly at the ball that is rolling away.
His mother fetches it for him. He throws it towards Sweety. Now, it is her mother’s turn to get the ball for her.
Sweety throws it again. This time, she is not looking at the ball, but at Aryan.
The third time, she does not throw the ball. She looks at her mother and points towards Aryan.
Her mother pushes her pram towards Aryan. When she is close enough, Sweety carefully extends the ball towards Aryan. He takes it shyly. Both of them smile at each other.
As his mother carries him home, walker and all, Aryan is concerned. He has seen the corner where Sweety lives. “She does not have a bathroom. Can she use ours?”
This is where I am supposed to close this post with some profound statement. I can’t. I feel too small. Please, let them not pick up the labels and the layers of separation. The world needs them just as they are.