He ran towards his home, bare foot, in the scorching heat. He had insisted his mom come home for lunch today at all costs.
One would wonder if those little feet could even feel pain for he rushed ahead beaming with a smile that wouldn’t recede. Such was his joy.
And he ought to be happy. He had earned it through his labor for 3 days straight.
“Maa! close your eyes” he shouted as he entered the only room his home.
“Now, you can open your eyes.”
She did so to find a new pair of slippers and his bare foot.
“Where are your shoes? Why”, she paused eating her words, in tears, wondering when her little kid grew up years beyond his age.
“How”, she instead asked. The only word she could barely manage to utter.
“I just had to bunk school and work for 3 days instead”, he replied the truth though he was afraid.
She sat on the ground with a smile as tears continued to fall. How else could a mother react to the joy of love and pain that her child had to go through for the same.
With mixed feelings, she calmed herself. Hugged him for long and then as she caressed his hair, wiping his sweat, she whispered, “listen. And never ever forget this.”
“I couldn’t be more proud, more happier. But education is what will bring our dreams to reality without either of us having to sacrifice. Dream, compete, learn, and live. That is what I truly wish for. Regardless of how hard it may get or how many, seemingly easier, distractions come in, read on.”
She added, “Even if you don’t understand these words now, remember them.”
Years later, he came back running to her mom. Like usual, he placed the best sandals he could get near her feet.
But then, this time he took her to his car, shouted yet again in the same exciting tone as he had done, “Maa! Close your eyes. Don’t open them until I say.”
After driving for a while, he said, “It’s time to fulfill dreams of many like us. Open your eyes, Maa”
She opened her eyes and couldn’t hold back her tears.
The school board read her name. She hugged him smiling knowing that she had raised her son well. Along with the happy tears, she blinked away the tears of struggle. Those never ending questions such as,”without money and a father name, what do you think you can give him? What would become of his future?” finally needn’t be answered anymore.
She had raised her son well.