Delhi Diary-Heartbleed

Drawings Slum Children K. shows you eight fingers and sometimes nine, when you ask her how old she is. But she looks not older than a four or five year old child. She can eat four jam and peanut butter toasts in a row. She eats so quickly that you would not be able to say „peanutbutterjamtost“, I swear. I shall draw a door and a windows into the apple, she says. I obey. She has four sisters. All younger than herself. That’s truly bad luck, say the neighbors. K. sits on the ground in one hand she holds a pair of scissors and in her the hand a couple of colored pens. She draws eagerly and the tip of her tongue touches her upper tooth. Okay, sweet pie, say I, no tantrum with the scissors, promise? K. nods and smiles. Half an hour later I am back and K. hands over the apple with the rosa door and the yellow glowing windows to me. Ohhhhh, say I, that’s quite a nice place to live in. She nods and climbs on my lap where she curls up like a puppy and tries to cut off the buttons of my shirt with her scissors, before she falls asleep. K. lives in a house that has no doors and holes, you would not exactly describe as windows. Seven people share a room. Here we go, sweet pie, say I and carry her over to the next room. Ten minutes later it knock on the door. K² stands outside the door. „Can I come in?, she asks and I nod. She has the face of an 35 year old woman, but she is maybe elven or twelve years old. „It’s a luck she hasn’t started bleeding yet, say the neighbors and nurses, otherwise she would not be able to come anyway. „Breakfast, sweetheart? K²  nods and takes the tray out with her. She never eats in front of me and I am still not able to make out why not. Maybe she is ashamed of the greed that hunger produces but maybe it is something completely different. I am your assistant, she says, when she returns. „You are the best assistant I ever had, say I and she blushes. She runs back and forward for me, carries things up and down the building, whatever ask her, she does it in a most serious matter. When she came for the first time she told me her mother was dead. I looked at her and she took a finger and draw a line across her neck, dead, she gurgled and I sat there and looked at her. Come, sweetheart, let’s have a break and I clear my desk and she sits there and draws me a picture. She paints me a castle with a beautiful green framed window. Look, she says I painted you a castle, because you like a princess. I for sure look as unlikely a princess a possible and lean forward and say: „Sweetheart you truly look like a princess, I say.But K²  shakes her head. „No I am ugly, she says. Everybody, says that.  But I take her hand we climb upon the rooftop terrace and I lay her legs around my hips and swirl her around, faster and faster, so fast as I can and she laughs and giggles and for the first time I hear eleven year old child laughing and giggling and i swirl and swirl around, even when feeling dizzy, because I don’t want to stop her laughing and I want to listen to her breathless giggles forever and ever. A. storms towards me and shrieks: flowers! In her hand she holds two yellow blossoms and three crumpled red ones. „For me?“, I ask her and she nods. Two minutes later, three children crawl upon my back and try to fix flowers in my hair. I paint a tree, more apples and hand out more pencils and scissors. „Girls, I say, no hassle with the scissors, promise?“ They nod. When I return five girls threaten each other with scissors and roll across the floor. Five girls look ashamed on their feet and present more artwork to me. I admire a tree, an apple with a heart and many more colored apples. Five girls think they did a pretty decent job. And I agree. Five girls want to ride on my back and I race upon and down the floor till I have to change my shirt. The girls eat bananas and sandwiches, before we kiss goodbye. „I love you too, sweety pie“, say I and hug K., A. and all the others. K²  takes my hand before she leaves. I wan to be a nurse, she whispers in my ear and looks at N. who stands in the door. I wish I would be able to say, we can make this happen, but I am not and I nod and look at her, before she kisses me and heads off. „I’ll be right back, I say to N. and for ten minutes I sit on the ground of the bathroom and cry and cry and cry.

You might have guessed it before, but Read On is not my real name.

One thought on “Delhi Diary-Heartbleed

  1. This is too heartbreaking. Oh those lovely girls up against such insurmountable odds. How nice that they have you in their lives however briefly. You will always be remembered, not matter what your name.

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