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This One Time
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Smiling face by Anuja Hegde (Other) -
It was in June, when I joined a playschool, as a teacher. We had wonderful angels at our school all dressed daintily in frills and jumpsuits. They would cry at times, hit each other and at rare occasions bite each other too. To settle these little ones, we decided to reward them with a ‘Smiling face’ (a face with a smile drawn with a sketch pen) on their tiny wrists. The ‘smiling face’ was recognition for any good deed done by the child. Children felt proud of themselves when they earned this smiling face.
Amongst the lot, there was one little guy, who never won a smiling face for a simple reason that he howled and cried all day for his mother. All of us at school were nervous. It had been about a month, but the boy refused to be consoled. We tried every trick of the trade to pacify him and make him enjoy school, but in vain.
I could not bear his sorrow. I took him on my lap, and wiped a huge drop of water rolling down his cheek. I carried him all along the day and did each of my activity with him beside me. He enjoyed this attention. He curled around me and soon we were friends. I gave him a 'smiling face' on his wrist, for he had been a good boy now. Crying had stopped and enjoying lessons had begun. He helped his friends, shared his snacks, sang the rhymes and played to his heart’s content.
However one day, things changed. I was unable to attend school as I lost my father in a car accident. I joined work after a couple of weeks.
This little boy saw me after a long time. He ran towards me and hugged me. I resumed my routine, but occasionally visited the washroom, to wipe my tears. I was trying to conceal my sorrow, but was unable to hide it from this little friend. He had noticed every bit of it.
He walked towards me with a sketch pen and with his little fingers scribbled a small ‘smiling face’ on my wrist and wiped the falling tears from my face. I looked at the ‘smiling face’ on my wrist and then at the smiling face in front of me…
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