I was scanning faces at the prayer meeting for her. That’s when I saw him. One more look at his face and I went back to a sunny afternoon under the chikoo tree.
He appeared reluctantly before the red cloth that served as the backdrop. Unsteady as always, not sure where to look. Not in control of the way his hands moved. And there was a fresh wet patch in front of his trousers.
Then he locked eyes with her. She was applauding, smiling. I don’t think either of them heard the giggles around them. He was performing just for her, who had cajoled that performance out of him. And she was applauding not the differently-abled boy, but the ability in him that would one day make a difference to him.
I looked again for that boy, now a confident-looking young man. He was gone. I don’t know if I will ever see him again.
But I know where you can find her. No, not among the stars. Look for her under a chikoo tree somewhere. Extracting performances from those the world giggles at, her radiant smile lighting confidence in abandoned corners.
R.I.P. Madhavi Kapur.