He was shocked, he was scared and he almost became numb. He was not sure what to do rather where to hide. He was feeling weak and felt intense nausea. He was not sure how to escape from this hustle and bustle. Well that’s what happens when someone from the village comes to the big city of Kolkata. Afzal had brought his son Karim to the city for treatment. He was suffering from some disease of the stomach which the doctors in the village were unable to find out and thus the visit to the city. He was getting thinner day by day, just like a malnourished kid.
He clutched his father’s shirt with all his might and clung to him like a wrapping paper covering a gift. He was a kid of five and had never crossed the limits of his village, forget coming to a metropolitan city. The environment at the Howrah Railway Station can be quite daunting for any people and for a first timer who was also a kid from a village in the distant corner of West Bengal, it was really frightening. The wave of people, the screaming of the vendors, the running of the coolies, the cry of the beggars; well one can’t have a more diverse, crowded and noisy atmosphere.
His father worked in the city and knew the exact location of the NRS Government Hospital where they were heading to. Her mother had packed lunch for both of them but Afzal knew that the money he had with him, they might need to extend the food till dinner. The doctor was in great demand and it was always difficult to get the appointment on the same day. Many people from his village had mentioned that they had to extend their stay in the city for 2-3 days to get treated by this doctor.
As they came out of the platforms to board the bus, Karim felt extremely hungry. They left home very early in the morning having a meager amount of food and it was almost afternoon. His ill body found it difficult to move even a bit. So Afzal found a shady area just outside the platform and sat on the street so that his son could have some food. From his torn bag, he took out a handmade chapati and some pickle. Karim was both happy and sad; happy because he was finally getting to eat something and sad because he knew that his father wouldn’t be eating anything. As he started feeding his son, a small beggar kid just stood behind him and stared blankly at the food. The pain of starvation was coming out of his eyes in the form of tears and his hands showed no sign of any money at all.
At first Karim thought to ignore him. He knew that the small and single piece of chapati won’t be enough to feed him and he also thought to share it with his father. But he could not. He called the kid towards him. He was a bit apprehensive initially but the warmth of Karim’s invitation and the innocence of his smile made him run towards him. Karim took the food from his father’s hand and he fed him with his own hands. Drops of tears came down the kid’s face as he enjoyed the company and the food. Those tear drops had love, gratitude and humanity written all over it. He hugged Karim as if he was someone his own and prayed to God so that he got well soon.
Karim only had a bit of pickle and some water. He pulled his father up and started walking towards the bus terminus.
He felt healthy.
Here’s the link to other posts for the Daily Prompt word ‘Healthy’: