I stared long and hard. Is it possible for a man to be so small? It was hot outside and my friends were following him from the time he entered our colony. Truthfully I was a bit tired of this game. They were laughing hysterically and mocking the little man. But I was curious to know who stitched his clothes as he wore a small topi and children size dhoti and kurta.
He was irritated and made a scornful face at us. It made all my friends enjoy their trick some more. Provoked they threw small stones at him. He suddenly stood still in his stride intimidating us with one chappal in his hand. We smirked as if scared of his act and retraced our steps. Satisfied, he quickly started walking towards his destination. One of the eldest in the group picked up a stone and threw at him once again. Fortunately it did not hurt him on his head, it hit his topi and it fell down. He quickly grabbed his topi with tears streaming down his little face. I don’t know if my friends noticed that in their snigger but that made me stop laughing. He hurried away quietly. I heard my mom scream my name. I said my goodbyes and left.
Later I narrated the afternoon episode to my mother. She did not approve of our behavior. She said, “God has made many of us different. We should not be making fun of them. Just imagine if you were him, how would you have felt?”
My mother left it at that. She was unlike the other mothers who would keep repeating one thing ten times. I have seen my friends mother do that, ‘Don’t stay back after and come home.’ Or ‘It’s dark on the ground come back home soon.’ Or ‘I will complain to your father that you come home late’.
My mother would say just once that I would have to come back by We were not allowed to play on the ground after that as it was unsafe. If I did not listen to the instruction I would get good thrashing. Later that night when I went to sleep I saw a dream that I did not ever grow more than my little size. I was treated the same way as that unknown little man.....