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April 27, 2005

I continued meeting Sara for the next few days….and one day I was little late in meeting her. When I went to that place she was already waiting for me.
“Anand. Why are you late today? I was waiting for you for a long time now.”
“I had to buy these chocolates for you, Sara. That’s why I was late.”
“What are these? These aren’t chocolates….these are called peppermints, which are almost extinct now. Where did you get these? I love these small things.”
I knew I couldn’t buy her the latest brands, though I wished to. But I was very happy to hear her last sentence.
“Tell me Anand…where do you live?”
I didn’t want to tell her that I was homeless.
“I live in a far away place.”
“My mom says, if you like someone they reside in your heart however far they may be.”
“So am I residing in your heart?” I asked her.
“I don’t know, I don’t think so. Because you are not in a far away place. You are right in front of me.” She said with a huge smile.
I was smiling at her. I couldn’t resist it.
“Look what have I brought for you!”
“A few laddoos which my mom made at home. Now be a good boy and don’t eat everything yourself. We will share them. Here these are for you and these for me.”

I was eating a home-made laddoo!!! It felt like heaven to eat something so handful in size after such a long time. It was then at this fine moment a tragic thing happened. One of Sara’s neighbors happened to see Sara talking to me. She was shell shocked and simply took Sara away with her…more like dragged her away. I couldn’t resist her from doing it. I mean I wanted to hold her hand and stop her but who knows…these days you cannot trust anyone. She might even pull me to court on the charges of “sexual harassment”. After a short time her mom came up to inspect the situation. She was red and said,” Sara, what were you doing with him? Don’t you see he’s so shabby? You might get some unknown diseases. Did you eat anything that he gave you? Oh my God! What are these?” She was looking at the peppermints that I had given her.
“What are you feeding my daughter? Just get lost and never meet my daughter or else I will call the police.”
“Mama, what are you doing? He’s my friend. You can’t do this. Please mama…please.” She was crying as her mom dragged her back to the house. She knew deep inside her heart that her mother didn’t like me because I was shabby. That night she stealthily took out her piggy bank and broke open the lock. She picked up a few pennies hat she had saved for herself. The next morning while she was sleeping her mother saw the huge debris in a corner of the room. She didn’t realize what that meant; perhaps she thought that Sara was going to buy some chocolate from the shop.

Next morning when I woke up I found an envelope lying by my side with my name on it.
I opened it and found a little note from Sara.

“Don’t bother how I found you. Here are some pennies that I had saved. I hope they will be of some help to you.
Your friend
Sara “
I couldn’t control my emotion. I was crying now…crying with my tears rolling down from the depth of my heart. All my life nobody had even bothered to help me and all this time I worked hard for livelihood. After my parents died in an accident I was lonely and I discontinued my studies. Nobody even bothered if I was alive or dead….and now…a little girl…a little girl who was just 10 years old was showering all the love and innocence on me. I cried and cried.

I felt that we are lonely even if are among a huge crowd if we don’t have someone to think about us, someone who would care about us. Now I was someone, something special for a little girl. And that made me feel special and…. important for her. I decided not to disappoint her. So I had a bath and borrowed some clothes with the money that Sara gave me and went out in search of a job and doing it now more rigorously. Finally a restaurant manager accepted to give me a small job. That was enough…more than enough. It sounded like heaven to me after all the hardships I had been through. After few days I began to earn and even save something. And I continued to meet Sara though her mother didn’t know about that. I might not have been earning salaries in 6 figures like the IT guys but what I had was enough to buy chocolates for her and that mattered the most in my life now. She munched them away and kept asking for more and more. Little girl she was, but not her heart. She changed my whole life in an instant because she thought I was important to her. And that made me test my endurance and do my best. She was everything for me now. I learnt that it always need not be the rich who would come down and talk to poor souls like me; it could be anyone…like you and me. That would make them feel important, more than that they will feel happy that someone out there is ready to listen to them.

“Thank you! Sara. Thank you! You changed my destiny. I will always remember you. You are the most important thing in my life now. I promise that I will be you best friend” I said to myself. I couldn’t meet her for a few days. I was working for extra time to earn more and may be even rent an apartment. But I heard that one of her teeth had to be removed because of tooth decay caused by excessive consumption of chocolates.
“Poor Sara…she must have been lonely without me!” after some days I finally met her at the same old place and she was happily playing with other children.
“Anand! Anand! How are you? Where were you all these days? Why didn’t you meet me?”
“Where was I? Let’s see…….I am right in front of you.” I said remembering what she had said earlier.
“No Anand. You are always in my heart,” she said kissing my cheek with her thin lips.

That was my sweet little Sara, who changed my destiny……………

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