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Little Angel

About Ujjayini Dasgupta

Ujjayini Dasgupta loves to write as it gives her a channel to express herself. She is working as a teacher. Besides writing, she loves photography.

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Prologue

 

“Hi, I am Babita.”

I turned back as I heard the soft voice ringing in my ear. I was busy putting things back in the big bag which we brought from the office. My office planned a visit to this unnamed unheard orphanage couple of weeks back as a part of its annual charity programme. I being an absolute non believer in this kind of quirky annual official visit, was very much reluctant to come. But I had to come because I was put in the management team by the officials. All the way I was cursing people in my mind for putting me into this unwanted situation.
I turned back and saw this little girl with curly hair standing behind with her hands stretched towards me.
“Can I get one more biscuit?” she asked me shyly.
I scanned her top to bottom. She was wearing a not-very-clean floral frock which had few patches of clothes stitched on it. Her hair looked curly and dry. But I could see she had a pair of very bright eyes which were now looking at me with little bit of hesitation.
I was not very much willing to give her.

“How greedy these urchins are! Just gave each of them one whole packet and this girl still wants more,” I was thinking as I threw one new packet at her rather unceremoniously. The girl was quick enough to catch the packet before it dropped on the ground. She opened the packet and quietly took out one biscuit from it. She returned the whole packet to me saying, “Uncle, you can take it back. I have taken one from it.” I was caught by surprise as I did not expect anything like this from a little girl living in some dilapidated orphanage in a remote place.

I said, “You can take the whole packet”, smiling wryly at her.
She replied, “No, uncle. I need only one. Ajji can eat only one. She has no tooth.”
I was taken aback by what I heard. “So, the biscuit is not for her. It was for some Ajji.”
I looked back at her but she was already leaving. Suddenly she turned and said, “Thanku uncle”
I asked, “What? What did you say?”
The girl again said, “Thanku.” She turned away and started running towards the orphanage building. Her hair was bouncing up and down. I smiled in my mind as I heard her say thanku instead of thank you.
“Poor girl,” I thought.
Part 1

My life again got back to the routine. I got busy with my work. After almost a couple of months I got a call from office HR.
I went to meet him in his desk, cursing in my mind for any unforeseen situation that may have turned up. Could it hold back my increment or even put my job at risk?
“You wanted to talk to me?” politely I asked in a soft and polite tone.
“Hi Ranjan”, the rather heavily built man wearing equally heavy glasses looked up. He handed over an envelope to me. I was little nervous to open it. It could be a reward or an intimidation. As I was opening the envelope he said, “You have been chosen for this on behalf of your entire team as no one is currently available right now. You have to visit the orphanage once more.”
I was too absorbed in opening the envelope to hear what he was saying. I sprang back to senses when the word orphanage entered my ears.
“What the hell is he talking about? Why on Earth do I have to go to that dirty dingy place again?”
Even before I could ask, I heard him saying, “Our office is sponsoring the education of one child from the orphanage. We asked them to send us a name and they have sent us the name. Our office will bear the expenses of books and stationary that the child will need. You have to go there for doing the formalities. It is just a matter of half a day and the office will take care of your conveyance. You will go on Sunday.”

I cursed in my mind, “Why will I ruin my Sunday for some freaking orphan. I am supposed to go out with my friends.”
I again heard him saying, “The envelope has got the kid’s name along with the official papers from our office.” I came out with a bitter taste in my mouth.”

I was cranky as I started on Sunday morning. It would take 2-3 hours to reach the orphanage. I tried to sleep in the car. I was almost in slumber when my car stopped with a screech. I opened my eyes only to find myself at the gate of the dilapidated building. I thought, “I would leave as soon as I am done.”
At the office I was greeted by the in-charge, Mr. Banerjee. I had a brief meeting with him the day when we all came for the visit. “Namaste,” He said, “I am so glad by the initiative taken by your office.”
I smiled dryly and asked, “Can we finish with the formalities?”
Mr. Banerjee’s smile vanished as he could easily sense the irritation in my voice.
“Yes, of course”, he said rather politely.
We finished the process rather quickly. I was about to leave rather in haste when Mr. Banerjee said, “The child who is getting the sponsorship wants to meet you.”
“Sure!” I said impatiently. It was almost evening. The place looked gloomier than before. There was this single tube light on the wall which had been switched on. The room looked like some unhappy, doomed place at the farthest corner of the Earth.
Thanku uncle”, I heard that same soft voice. I looked up when I saw Babita standing at the other side of the table.
Mr. Banerjee said, “She is the child who has got the sponsorship. Her name is Babita. She was so excited when she heard the news that she did not sleep properly. She got up very early in the morning. She was eager to meet the person who would come from your office. In fact, she has made something to give you.”
I smiled at her. She handed me a piece of folded paper. I could see her hands. They were so frail. I looked at her face clearly for the first time. I could gauge the excitement from her bright eyes. I opened the paper. It was a bright colourful drawing of a curly haired girl wearing a school uniform and carrying a bag. It was so beautiful.
I asked, “Who is this?”
“It’s me”, instantly replied Babita, bubbling with energy. I will be going to school soon.”
For the first time ever I felt affection for this kid.
I asked, “Have you been to school before?”
“Yes,” Babita said, “I used to go to school in my village. But after my mother was gone I had no one to call family.”
I asked curiously, “What happened to your mother?”
“She was a rag picker. One day she was hit by a running car and died on the spot.”
“What about your father?” I asked surprised.
“I have never seen my father,” Babita said in reply.
“Do you like to study?” I quizzed.
“Very much. When I was in school I always stood first in exams. I love to study. I know all the numbers. I know Hindi alphabet. I can count, do addition, subtraction also.”
I became curious about his girl. She started telling the numbers on her own. I felt a strange sense of attachment creeping over me.
She said, “I cannot speak English. Once I start going to school I will be able to speak in English like you.”

I laughed loudly seeing her animated expression. Suddenly I realized it was already late. The evening had turned into darkness and I had to leave.
As I got into the car, I saw Babita standing at the gate waving at me and to my surprise, I waved back.
Part 2

I started paying personal visit the orphanage more often as I just wanted to know how Babita was doing. Every time when I went, I would see this chirpy little Babita bubbling with excitement and waiting eagerly to tell me what was happening in her school, what new things she had learned. At the time of leaving she would never forget to be at the gate asking me when I would come next.
On one of my visits I asked her, “What do you want to become when you grow up?”
Babita looked at me and said, “I would be a doctor so that I could cure small children who are ill like me.”
Her words struck my ears. I asked, “Are you ill? Do you have fever?”
“Not exactly! I don’t know but doctor uncle had told me that I am ill. I suffer from frequent bouts of fever and I feel very weak.”
That day at the time of leaving I asked Mr. Banerjee, “Is Babita not keeping well lately?”
Mr. Banerjee’s face became clouded with apprehension.
“Maybe it is back!” he said.
I asked, “What do you mean by that?”
He said, “Babita was diagnosed with low level of leukemia when she was brought here. For years she was doing well with the medicines. But she is not keeping well lately and the doctor fears that her leukemic condition is back with a vengeance this time.”
My head reeled because I knew what that term exactly meant. Babita has blood cancer.
He continued, “Babita might not be able to sit for her exam as her health is deteriorating very fast. She might not survive this time.”
My eyes went blurred. I held the corner of the table. That day while coming back, I saw Babita smiling and waving at me
I could not sum up my courage to visit her for next couple of months.
I got a call from the orphanage. Babita had been admitted and she was critical. I went straight to the hospital where Mr. Banerjee was waiting. He took me to her .When Babita saw me she smiled weakly at me but her eyes were bright as before. I gave her a packet of biscuit. She took it smilingly and said, “Thank you uncle.”

I asked, “What did you say?”

She repeated, “Thank you”.

Her voice was more of a whisper. I kissed her forehead and said, “Get well soon dear. You are going to make it.”
Babita said, “Doctor uncle told me that I will get well soon and then I can go back and give my exams. I would work in this hospital when I become a doctor. I want to cure people like him.”

I said goodbye to her. When I was leaving, Babita was smiling faintly and waving her hand. I hurriedly went away as I did not want to show her my tears.

Babita died few days later. I was not brave enough to go and see her for one last time.
I went to Mr. Banerjee after few days. The whole place looked so empty, so lifeless. After chatting with him briefly, I bid him final good bye as I knew that I was not going to come back here again. As I got into the car I looked at the gate, the same place where Babita would be standing every time. But this time she was not there. I waved my hand at the empty gate. The car started. I put my hand in my pocket to bring out the folded paper. It had the drawing made by Babita. I opened it when I felt warm drops running down my cheeks.

 

A loud horn brings me back into the present. I am standing in the balcony of my office. It has been a year since the incident took place. Still I cannot shrug her off from my mind. I wish I could find Babita smiling and waving at me like before standing at the gate. But the little angel has left for her heavenly abode where she truly deserves to be. Stay happy my little angel and keep smiling as always.

“Hi, I am Babita.”

I turned back as I heard the soft voice ringing in my ear. I was busy putting things back in the big bag which we brought from the office. My office planned a visit to this unnamed unheard orphanage couple of weeks back as a part of its annual charity programme. I being an absolute non believer in this kind of quirky annual official visit, was very much reluctant to come. But I had to come because I was put in the management team by the officials. All the way I was cursing people in my mind for putting me into this unwanted situation.
I turned back and saw this little girl with curly hair standing behind with her hands stretched towards me.
“Can I get one more biscuit?” she asked me shyly.
I scanned her top to bottom. She was wearing a not-very-clean floral frock which had few patches of clothes stitched on it. Her hair looked curly and dry. But I could see she had a pair of very bright eyes which were now looking at me with little bit of hesitation.
I was not very much willing to give her.

“How greedy these urchins are! Just gave each of them one whole packet and this girl still wants more,” I was thinking as I threw one new packet at her rather unceremoniously. The girl was quick enough to catch the packet before it dropped on the ground. She opened the packet and quietly took out one biscuit from it. She returned the whole packet to me saying, “Uncle, you can take it back. I have taken one from it.” I was caught by surprise as I did not expect anything like this from a little girl living in some dilapidated orphanage in a remote place.

I said, “You can take the whole packet”, smiling wryly at her.
She replied, “No, uncle. I need only one. Ajji can eat only one. She has no tooth.”
I was taken aback by what I heard. “So, the biscuit is not for her. It was for some Ajji.”
I looked back at her but she was already leaving. Suddenly she turned and said, “Thanku uncle”
I asked, “What? What did you say?”
The girl again said, “Thanku.” She turned away and started running towards the orphanage building. Her hair was bouncing up and down. I smiled in my mind as I heard her say thanku instead of thank you.
“Poor girl,” I thought.

My life again got back to the routine. I got busy with my work. After almost a couple of months I got a call from office HR.
I went to meet him in his desk, cursing in my mind for any unforeseen situation that may have turned up. Could it hold back my increment or even put my job at risk?
“You wanted to talk to me?” politely I asked in a soft and polite tone.
“Hi Ranjan”, the rather heavily built man wearing equally heavy glasses looked up. He handed over an envelope to me. I was little nervous to open it. It could be a reward or an intimidation. As I was opening the envelope he said, “You have been chosen for this on behalf of your entire team as no one is currently available right now. You have to visit the orphanage once more.”
I was too absorbed in opening the envelope to hear what he was saying. I sprang back to senses when the word orphanage entered my ears.
“What the hell is he talking about? Why on Earth do I have to go to that dirty dingy place again?”
Even before I could ask, I heard him saying, “Our office is sponsoring the education of one child from the orphanage. We asked them to send us a name and they have sent us the name. Our office will bear the expenses of books and stationary that the child will need. You have to go there for doing the formalities. It is just a matter of half a day and the office will take care of your conveyance. You will go on Sunday.”

I cursed in my mind, “Why will I ruin my Sunday for some freaking orphan. I am supposed to go out with my friends.”
I again heard him saying, “The envelope has got the kid’s name along with the official papers from our office.” I came out with a bitter taste in my mouth.”

I was cranky as I started on Sunday morning. It would take 2-3 hours to reach the orphanage. I tried to sleep in the car. I was almost in slumber when my car stopped with a screech. I opened my eyes only to find myself at the gate of the dilapidated building. I thought, “I would leave as soon as I am done.”
At the office I was greeted by the in-charge, Mr. Banerjee. I had a brief meeting with him the day when we all came for the visit. “Namaste,” He said, “I am so glad by the initiative taken by your office.”
I smiled dryly and asked, “Can we finish with the formalities?”
Mr. Banerjee’s smile vanished as he could easily sense the irritation in my voice.
“Yes, of course”, he said rather politely.
We finished the process rather quickly. I was about to leave rather in haste when Mr. Banerjee said, “The child who is getting the sponsorship wants to meet you.”
“Sure!” I said impatiently. It was almost evening. The place looked gloomier than before. There was this single tube light on the wall which had been switched on. The room looked like some unhappy, doomed place at the farthest corner of the Earth.
Thanku uncle”, I heard that same soft voice. I looked up when I saw Babita standing at the other side of the table.
Mr. Banerjee said, “She is the child who has got the sponsorship. Her name is Babita. She was so excited when she heard the news that she did not sleep properly. She got up very early in the morning. She was eager to meet the person who would come from your office. In fact, she has made something to give you.”
I smiled at her. She handed me a piece of folded paper. I could see her hands. They were so frail. I looked at her face clearly for the first time. I could gauge the excitement from her bright eyes. I opened the paper. It was a bright colourful drawing of a curly haired girl wearing a school uniform and carrying a bag. It was so beautiful.
I asked, “Who is this?”
“It’s me”, instantly replied Babita, bubbling with energy. I will be going to school soon.”
For the first time ever I felt affection for this kid.
I asked, “Have you been to school before?”
“Yes,” Babita said, “I used to go to school in my village. But after my mother was gone I had no one to call family.”
I asked curiously, “What happened to your mother?”
“She was a rag picker. One day she was hit by a running car and died on the spot.”
“What about your father?” I asked surprised.
“I have never seen my father,” Babita said in reply.
“Do you like to study?” I quizzed.
“Very much. When I was in school I always stood first in exams. I love to study. I know all the numbers. I know Hindi alphabet. I can count, do addition, subtraction also.”
I became curious about his girl. She started telling the numbers on her own. I felt a strange sense of attachment creeping over me.
She said, “I cannot speak English. Once I start going to school I will be able to speak in English like you.”

I laughed loudly seeing her animated expression. Suddenly I realized it was already late. The evening had turned into darkness and I had to leave.
As I got into the car, I saw Babita standing at the gate waving at me and to my surprise, I waved back.

 

CONTINUED IN PART 2…

I started paying personal visit the orphanage more often as I just wanted to know how Babita was doing. Every time when I went, I would see this chirpy little Babita bubbling with excitement and waiting eagerly to tell me what was happening in her school, what new things she had learned. At the time of leaving she would never forget to be at the gate asking me when I would come next.
On one of my visits I asked her, “What do you want to become when you grow up?”
Babita looked at me and said, “I would be a doctor so that I could cure small children who are ill like me.”
Her words struck my ears. I asked, “Are you ill? Do you have fever?”
“Not exactly! I don’t know but doctor uncle had told me that I am ill. I suffer from frequent bouts of fever and I feel very weak.”
That day at the time of leaving I asked Mr. Banerjee, “Is Babita not keeping well lately?”
Mr. Banerjee’s face became clouded with apprehension.
“Maybe it is back!” he said.
I asked, “What do you mean by that?”
He said, “Babita was diagnosed with low level of leukemia when she was brought here. For years she was doing well with the medicines. But she is not keeping well lately and the doctor fears that her leukemic condition is back with a vengeance this time.”
My head reeled because I knew what that term exactly meant. Babita has blood cancer.
He continued, “Babita might not be able to sit for her exam as her health is deteriorating very fast. She might not survive this time.”
My eyes went blurred. I held the corner of the table. That day while coming back, I saw Babita smiling and waving at me
I could not sum up my courage to visit her for next couple of months.
I got a call from the orphanage. Babita had been admitted and she was critical. I went straight to the hospital where Mr. Banerjee was waiting. He took me to her .When Babita saw me she smiled weakly at me but her eyes were bright as before. I gave her a packet of biscuit. She took it smilingly and said, “Thank you uncle.”

I asked, “What did you say?”

She repeated, “Thank you”.

Her voice was more of a whisper. I kissed her forehead and said, “Get well soon dear. You are going to make it.”
Babita said, “Doctor uncle told me that I will get well soon and then I can go back and give my exams. I would work in this hospital when I become a doctor. I want to cure people like him.”

I said goodbye to her. When I was leaving, Babita was smiling faintly and waving her hand. I hurriedly went away as I did not want to show her my tears.

Babita died few days later. I was not brave enough to go and see her for one last time.
I went to Mr. Banerjee after few days. The whole place looked so empty, so lifeless. After chatting with him briefly, I bid him final good bye as I knew that I was not going to come back here again. As I got into the car I looked at the gate, the same place where Babita would be standing every time. But this time she was not there. I waved my hand at the empty gate. The car started. I put my hand in my pocket to bring out the folded paper. It had the drawing made by Babita. I opened it when I felt warm drops running down my cheeks.

A loud horn brings me back into the present. I am standing in the balcony of my office. It has been a year since the incident took place. Still I cannot shrug her off from my mind. I wish I could find Babita smiling and waving at me like before standing at the gate. But the little angel has left for her heavenly abode where she truly deserves to be. Stay happy my little angel and keep smiling as always.

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