I asked him for his story, there was no smile. Was he the boy in the photo with the begging bowl? A wistful, soft reply warned me; “It’s a sad story.” “That may be so,” I answered, “but remember, Your story isn’t finished. You are fifteen, there may be a good ending?” A small, wounded smile wondered; “How can there be a happy ending?” He recited his story:
[Continued from previous week]
That night Mommy took me for work. It was raining heavily. I told her we should not go now in this weather; it was really not nice. It was a very bad, bad, sad night. We really shouldn’t have gone that night.
We both went. We were wet. We walked for about 4 kilometres in the pouring rain; then, we came upon a building that was being constructed. There were some iron rods lying on the ground that would be worth good money; my mother said, “Let’s take these.” So, we collected a few and took them away from the building. Mommy walked ahead, leading the way with the iron rods and I was at the tail end helping carry the rods. It was too dark to see clearly; we didn’t see the electric pole with loose wires dangling down from it. When the rods hit the pole with the live wires, Mommy was thrown down. The rods she had been carrying were now on top of her but still touching the electric pole. I also held the rods but nothing happened to me. Mommy was yelling but I couldn’t hear or understand her; no sound was coming from her voice. Finally, I heard, “Save me! Save me!” I dropped my end of the rods and with all my strength I tried to get the rods off by using a branch, but it gave me a shock. There were many houses nearby, so she said, “Call for help!” I started shouting crazily, “Save my mother, save my mother!” A man appeared —he was so bad. He took one look at my mother, went inside and closed the door.
I was seven years old and I didn’t know what to do. I ran the four kilometers back home in record time, arrived, and nearly fainted. My Papa was at the shop next-door. He saw fear written all over my face and alarm in my eyes and asked, “What happened?” I was crying a lot, “Mommy is getting an electric shock!” He started to go, but I knew he was drunk and was afraid of what he might do. I thought of my older brother, “We should call my brother, he will know what to do.” I banged his door to wake him for what seemed like five minutes. Finally, he came out. “Mommy is getting an electric shock; we have to go and help her.” He started running. I was afraid and said, “you won’t be able to do it, let’s call Uncle.” We went to his house and called him as well, then all of us got into an auto-rickshaw. By the time we reached Mommy, it was too late. She was dead. I was so upset, and so sad that I couldn’t help her. It was too late. I felt very bad that I didn’t save her. Maybe if I had thought of a better way, I could have saved her. That thought went over and over again in my mind; the chances of saving her surely had been there. I was young, but I missed it.
They took the iron rods off her and took her in an auto. We were going to the hospital to admit her. My Uncle said, “What is the point of taking her to the hospital when she is dead? We should take her home.” When we reached home, Papa began to act crazy. Then we saw how much he really loved her. He began running here and there like a mad-man, totally out of control. He was even laughing. Watching him made us cry. It was very sad.