Saturday, 9 April 2011

Two figures

I see them almost every morning.

On my short ride across the lunar craters which masquerade as a road that links my office with the JSK centre.

Two figures. Walking.

One a 5 year old boy. Beside him a lady.

Some mornings the lady is the boy's mother. Sometimes she is another woman.

The boy holding the hand of the lady.

Walking to school. The small pre-school that a local church runs for children of the vicinity.

To every one's eyes this boy is just one of the many who avail of the kind-hearted church.

The lady is just a woman taking her son or ward to the school.

We will call the boy little Thomas.

Thomas was born in a brothel.

His mother has left that world. And is stepping into another one.

The other ladies who take little Thomas to his pre-school have also stepped out.

We know them because they have all come for HIV testing at the JSK centre.

Little Thomas is HIV positive. So is his mother. So are some of the other aunties that he lives with.

When Thomas was 3 his mother decided that she had enough of the 'rehabilitated' life. She told the people running the centre she is living at that she wanted to visit her relatives in the village. They took Thomas and his mother and put them on a train in the main station in Mumbai.

His mother got off at Kalyan station and went back to the brothel.

Thomas was put under the bed while his mother gave herself to her clients.

We remember the dear couple who run the centre telling us about their heartache when they found out that Thomas' mother had returned to the trade.

But they prayed. And so did we. And others too.

One day Thomas' mother decided that she had enough - and returned.

The good people who run the centre welcomed them back with open arms. Prayers have been answered.


And so when I pass by two figures at just before 9 AM on any given day, I know that these are not just any old people.

These are precious, precious people.

Thomas is starting a new life - one that we are proud to have the tiniest part in sharing in.

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