Walking Krisha Home from School
by Robin Currie
I walk home with Krisha from our preschool in Dharmslal, India. She does not hold my hand because her 3-year-old feet are more sure on the rocks than mine.
It is the hottest part of another hot day. Everywhere is brown and waiting. The ground is cut into steppes ready to plant rice, but now there is only dust. How much rain will the monsoons bring to flood these fields for rice?
Krisha is quiet, not the chatterbox I know from school. We pass a cow in the middle of the road, oblivious to the traffic and completely safe from it. I point it out to Krisha, but she has seen cows before.
Each person we meet makes eye contact, even with the white stranger in the traditional garb guiding a familiar child home. Namaste ji. We fold hands and bow. No exceptions and nothing more.
We round the corner where the women of one house gather water every day from the leak in the pipe across the road. It is the only water source, that leaking pipe.
Past the chickens that peck each other so much their necks are bare of feathers.
Past the garage store where the one-armed man sells snacks. Namaste ji.
Suddenly a flash of color in the endless brown makes Krisha squeal and run. Intense flowing pink and sequin studded yellow lighten the surroundings and make the dust and heat fade. Mama is waiting at the gate.
Krisha runs crying mamamamama. She stops at her mother’s side and seizes the end of her long scarf, rubbing it on her face. Mama and I exchange Namaste ji. I continue on my way in the dust and heat.
So strange, so unlike what we know—yet so like who we are. Parents everywhere wait for children, and we run with joy and gratitude to open arms.
Award-winning author Robin Currie led children’s departments of Midwestern public libraries before being called mid-life to ordained ministry. Robin volunteers teaching English in such diverse places as rural India (2010), Tanzania, Peru, Thailand, Russia and a refugee camp in Greece. Learn more about Robin at http://www.robincurrie.net/index2.html.