‘Now New Gangaji. Go’
The boy soaking the sun, sitting on his motorbike, was pointing towards a small lane. I looked in the direction of his finger. Then I turned back to look at him.
His lips had cracks. When he lifted his hand to take off his cap, I couldn’t help but see the chewed up nails. Oh and his well-oiled hair seemed to have taken the shape of his scalp – maybe the helmet was to blame.
“Madam, you will see the lane when you go a little further,” he said suddenly. Unsure of this guy and of the chaos on the street, I started to move thinking I should come back with my family.
“They enjoy”, he continued, pointing towards the boys. “Now new Gangaji. Go,” his face lit up. “Boat there. It take you away,” the warmth on his face made me laugh.
I’m not sure how but he had assumed that boys would understand and appreciate if he spoke in english.
“Thank you,” my elder one promptly replied, “but when you say new Ganga…” I held their hands and started walking. I knew my geeky 10-year old was about to tell him that there was nothing new and the river’s faecal coliform level was much higher than the permissible limit.
The boy realised the ease in my expression and seemed even more excited. I knew exactly what was going through his mind. He had helped us. “Yes, boat away. Go far,” he continued as my younger one looked at him.
I was smiling. Ear to ear. My younger one looked confused. My elder one seemed worried. As for me, I was happy to be home after three long years.