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Hold my child

Can you hold my child for a minute? The woman pleaded.  

I was as usual focussed on getting through the mass of people at the immigration counter. The man at the counter was painfully slow. I was calculating if any other lane was faster.

After waiting for a minute. The woman again asked for help. The urgency in her voice made me look towards her.

She had a baby,two bags and a handbag. Was she crazy travelling so heavy! These Pakistanis: always overburdened with spices and sweets.

She had disturbed my calculations of swiftness of lanes. I looked at her irritated. Her eyes were begging for help.

As I was about to stretch my arms to take the baby. My calculating mind triumphed over my irrational instincts.

What if the baby had a bomb? Why was the mother dumping the baby? Was she a suicide bomber? Had plenty of bags! Was it her baby? Was she running away from her husband taking the baby with her? If I help her I will be in deep trouble.

In a fraction of a second, the donkey came to remind me of dire consequences. The donkey appeared half dead. The donkey owner was screaming for help and mourning tremendously for the fading away of his livelihood. Impulsively I had helped him. Weeks later I found the same man and probably the same donkey replaying the same drama.

After the donkey, the rickshaw man came mocking me. At the traffic light, young driver of a rickshaw weeping tragically had caught my eyes. I noticed he was saying something to the effect of being penniless and having a mother or sister dying in the hospital. My heart was moved to financial compassion. Since then I have found the same rickshaw driver at many traffic lights. He has gone healthier, the story has remained the same.

Compassion is not for the people of this country who are fraudsters to the maximum! My mind warned.

The woman pleaded again. This time with tears in her eyes. My foolish heart gave in. Took the baby from her.

She smiled, bent down and took out some medicine syrup from the bag. Mixed the syrup in the milk in the bottle. Stuffed the syrup bottle in the handbag.

Took the baby from me. The baby was adorable. Immediately started feeding the baby. She did not even wait for the immigration to be done.

Then she looked at me. Probably had understood my dilemma. I felt guilty.

Thanked me immensely.

Then said:

You must have noticed the baby is very warm. Is suffering from very high fever. I had to travel to Dubai. My husband has had an accident. Would not have time to wait for bags, thus these few bags have all I need for now. Pray for my husband and baby. You are a kind woman.

She started weeping.

I was either too numb to respond or too focussed on getting through the lane.