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WHEN I MET SARA —- PART-1

April 27, 2005
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this is my second story ……

WHEN I MET SARA

“You are still here!!!! You …..Son of a bitch. Just get the hell out of here or you will be definitely in trouble. Don’t you remember I had given a warning to you the other day,” shouted a cop as he saw me lying on a bench on a Sunday morning in central park.
“Take it easy, take it easy! I was just leaving.” I said as I got up to run away from that place as I could sense some trouble brewing up with the cop. I was already in such a bad state; I didn’t want to add another feather in my cap.

“Excuse me Sir, can I see today’s newspaper?” I asked a gentleman who was reading the supplement issue of THE SUNDAY TIMES in the same park just a few yards away from the bench where I had been sleeping. He looked at my state and just turned away. I thought he was about to puke as he couldn’t bear my shabby state. Yes, I was kind of dirty according to normal standards. It had been ages since I had taken proper bath. I decided to stroll across the street in search of one good soul who would sympathize at my bad state.

“Ladies and gentlemen, just move away from this area….the situation is under control,” shouted a cop just a few yards away as he dragged away a guy of somewhat my age.
“A gentleman seems to have called the cops to get this guy arrested who was asking for some help in spite of repeated warnings from the gentleman to stay away from him,” said a curious onlooker when I asked him what had happened. I thought I could have been in the same position as that of this guy if I had reached the scene few minutes earlier.

“No sir, no. Try to understand me. I didn’t do anything wrong. Please let me go…please,” the guy was pleading the cops who didn’t listen to this poor soul. I slipped away from the scene and look for something to eat. I was kind of new to the city, so couldn’t calculate how much an average meal would cost. Moreover I hadn’t eaten anything for a longtime. I was saving everything I could. I didn’t know why I was starving and didn’t even spend even a single penny…but today I had to eat something. It looked like coming closer to death with each penny spent. I quickly searched through my pocked and found not more than 10 pennies.

“Hello, excuse me! Get me something that’s worth not more than 2 pennies!” I asked the beautiful waitress in a café. She smiled and brought me a glass of water.
“Here, this is what you get, now can I get anything else for you…or would u like to pay the bill?” she asked with an undying smile spreading through her face. I didn’t know what to do. Smile at the gorgeous girl or be sad that another day was about to pass without any food. I paid the bill and was back on the streets again.

It was almost 11:00 o’ clock now and I was searching for some shady place under the trees to rest…hunger does make one weak. Right across the street I saw children playing in a small community park. Children always brought some sweet memories of my childhood…something about them always interested me. I went to have a look what they were doing.

“Rahul, pass the ball quickly. Not there stupid, here. Come on fast,” said a tall guy. Must have been the eldest of all of them..
“Bhaiyya, why do you always call me stupid? I am not a kid anymore and I know what that means and it hurts. Don’t do it again or I will complain to mom.”, said Rahul to his brother.
“I don’t care, do what you want. Now just go and stand in your place…stupid. Oh! I am so sorry! You are gonna complain to mom…you are such a loser,” said his brother mocking at Rahul’s remarks.
Things were getting heated up and I could see Rahul with eyes full of tears and a determined face that he would teach him a lesson. After a few minutes, a very young girl came into the park and sat on a bench to watch the game.
She said,” I am new to this locality. Do you think we could be friends?”. She was asking a guy who was sitting beside her. This guy was munching a chocolate and didn’t care for her question. She then turned and asked almost everyone if they would allow her to play with them. Nobody seemed to be interested; I mean this girl was too young for their age. Then she saw me standing near the wall and stared at my shabby clothes and dirty face. But to my surprise, I was so glad to see her that I gathered some strength and managed to smile at her. And she smiled back.

“Hello! My name is Sara. I am new to this locality. Can we be friends?” she asked me.
Can you believe that!!!! She was so innocent and in such great need of friends that she wouldn’t mind to have me as her friend. I said,” Yes.”

“What’s your name friend?”

What was my name…what was my name? I was searching for an answer, I found it so hard, I mean it had been ages since someone had asked me that question and I had rarely spoken to anyone. Tears started rolling down her cheeks.
“I am Anand.,” I said giving her a smile.
“Anand come play with me. I want to show everyone that I have a friend too. Much taller than all of you, who will play with me …who can hit the ball so hard that it would be out of sight.”
“Here Anand…..come here. Today we will make a house with this sand. Come here…come fast.” I was so happy that someone was talking to me that I even forgot that I was 25 years old and she was only 10. Children do have magic when they speak.

“Sara…Sara beta! Where are you? It’s time to go home!” shouted her mother who was looking for her daughter. I knew if her mother had seen me it would mean trouble. She would think I was some kind of criminal who takes away children and sells their body parts. I bade Sara good bye and said that I would meet her later and she should go home.
“Ok…Anand. I will see you later.”
“Sara…Sara! Where are you?” her mother was closing in.
“Oh my God! What are you doing with the sand? You shouldn’t spoil it like that. The owner of this park will scold you. And you don’t like to be scolded…haina beta,” said her mother in a low voice after seeing her daughter filled with tears at her initial anger.
“Come on…let’s go we are getting late. Remember we have to go to your uncle’s house and you dad will be looking for us now.” She said as she took Sara away with her. I was standing behind the bush looking at my new little friend. I smiled at her and went away from that place. That day had passed without much hassle anywhere. I did look for few jobs but couldn’t make any. They all thought they were too good to look at my state.

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