Wednesday, March 5, 2014

The little guide

I was standing on my terrace the other day and seeing all the fun that children in the apartment were having. Evenings are meant for fun and play. So they were there out in hordes indulging in various activities; little ones on their tricycles, the older ones on their bicycles, some zipping past on their roller skates, the older lot playing cricket and so on. Observing children can be a very enjoyable affair, don't you agree?

It was then that my attention was drawn towards an old man with a bag hung on one shoulder walking very slowly with the help of a walking stick. Holding his hand and walking alongside him was a little boy who I guess was not more than three years of age. It looked like the grandfather and grandson were going out for a walk.

As I watched them, the old man was concentrating on the path ahead, walking carefully and beside him  holding his hands was the child who was carefully guiding his grandfather along the path. He would point out and tug at the old man's arm if he thought the path was slightly uneven and veer him towards an even stretch.

After a while he let go of his grandfather's arm and walked a few paces in front of him and then turned back and waited to see how his grandfather was progressing and when he saw that his grandfather was close to him he would again walk a few paces ahead and wait. Then the little boy changed his course and started walking behind his grandfather all the while keeping a close watch. His attention was so totally focused on his grandfather that when some of his friends called out to him he did not respond to them. Such was his concentration! For a boy who was all but three, the care that this little child took of his grandfather was quite amazing. It was as though he knew that it was his responsibility to take great care of his  grandfather.

As they both progressed slowly towards the last stretch till my line of vision could follow, I could see the little boy had started marching smartly in military style with his grandfather walking behind him and when they were almost close to the gate the little boy turned back and gave a smart salute to the old man. Then I could see them no more.

I found my spirits soaring at such a wonderful sight that I had witnessed. This looked like a very small incident but the sensitivity and empathy shown by the little child was exemplary. I silently saluted this little guide and sentinel.

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