You lock your room and start walking down the stairs. A child stumbles upon a step a bit far from you. You would have run down quickly to help the child get to his feet if the mother weren't there. You expect the mother to get to the child quickly, shower sugary words and soothe the pain. No. The mother slowly gets to the child and looks down, without offering any humanitarian assistance. The child looks up at the mother, all set to cry.

The previous night you had a bad day at the office. You kept telling yourself that things are going to fall in place and everything will be alright. You wished for a weekend that would start immediately. You understand that confusions, misunderstandings and bitterness with colleagues are all a part of the ups and downs of office routine and soon you'll be back with a smiling face and be yourself. In an absent-minded moment, you banged your leg into a metal pillar. Though you didn't suffer any serious damage, the pain remained and you had a hard time putting yourself to sleep.

The mother lifts the child by his arm, which itself should have been painful. And gives him a careless slap and tells him:"I've told you a thousand times. How many more times do you plan to slip at this step?" Now you have gotten down the stairs and you're close to the child. You can see tears flowing very silently into his cheeks. Without making a sound, he gathers his bag and slowly, very carefully starts descending. You just want to pull him close to you, run your fingers through his hair and tell him that everything's alright and it's not just kids, even adults fall down often and there's nothing wrong with what had just happened.

You step into the road. Gradually the metropolitan noise fills your eardrum, which you're so accustomed to. You swear to have tonight's dinner without TV in the background. You see an old lady negotiating with a heavy bag, obviously beyond her physical capabilities. You hate this combination of smoke and sun and you wish you had woken up earlier and avoided the crowd. You see the child seriously discussing something with his friend. The tears have gone. It's a busy street. You continue.

Originally posted on BS on August 29, 2006.

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