Five Minutes with Innocence

Jungtina Jamir

Sometime back Friend and I went to get a story for the paper. Let’s just say we went some place where we may not visit often or for that matter, find a reason to go. Each and every one of us has our own things to do. We are stuck with our lives, with our families, with our friends, with everything. Everything!! Starting from me, I feel that most of us don’t really take the time to breathe. And I don’t mean ‘Breathe’ breathe, but, Breathe as in discharge oneself from the world; be in a state of mind with oneself feeling all the goodness that’s there in each one of us and the rest of the beautiful things that’s out there.

It was a hot day. Friend and I got an auto and headed for the work. Yes, it was ‘just work’. I was wondering when to come back. In other words, get out from the sun. Too bad, we found out that we would have to come back for a second time. “Ughh!!” I remember me saying. 

The second time we headed to the same place. This time round we got it. 

Small colorful sandals lined up outside the doorway and I could hear voices. Not the usual V(N)OISE, but more like tiny angelic voices that seemed to get through my ears. Curiosity led me to the doorway and as I scanned the place I saw a whole bunch of tiny faces. I wonder who was more curious. Me or them?  Probably both!! I like to think in that way. So we all stared at one another for few moments before Friend’s strong voice broke the silence :)

Friend got on with the ‘work’, as for me I had the camera, so I merrily took pictures of the tiny faces. My mistake, I didn’t check the battery-life of the camera before coming, so it was not before 5 shots that the camera went ‘Zink’. I felt bad. My job was to get good pictures. And I wasn’t content with the shots taken. I was thinking what to do. Then my reason to be there changed when this Tinyface looked at me like as if I was from somewhere strange. I figured I might as well as talk to Tinyface. After all, the camera just went dead! “I might as well time-pass” I thought to myself. 

I smiled and said hello. Tinyface smiled at me too. If smiles can literally melt hearts, I know mine did just then. I knelt down to talk to Tinyface. I asked for his name. Someone answered it for him. I guess Tinyface was uncertain if he should talk to strangers. I don’t blame Tinyface. But then I tried again. Never give up they say! 

When our eyes met it seemed as if I was the one who had the most questions and he had the answers. Sigh! Anyway, Tinyface said his name, very boldly and very carelessly. The fact that I was talking did not create a sense of obligation in Tinyface. Yes, innocence is ignorant too and that’s why I didn’t mind. That’s when it struck in my mind the reason Tinyface was here; the reason why all the other tiny faces were here. The fact, when I stepped out from the office I knew where Friend and I were going, but it was only then I REALLY knew where I was. Suddenly these questions flooded my mind. I had to ask. Yes, I had to ask! What would Tinyface say? What would Tinyface know? Assuming, Tinyface is hardly 6 years I didn’t know how to go about. Would it be wrong to ask Tinyface why he was here? Would it be wrong to remind him his reasons for being here? I was lost for some moment. And all that time, Tinyface kept doing what he was doing: a book on his lap and a pencil in his hand, scribbling on and on and staring at me quiet often.

I took a deep breath, a one kind of a breathe I don’t take often, except when I am really afraid. Afraid to ask. But it was then or never. So I closed up to Tinyface and asked his name again. Tinyface grinned and said that he has already told me his name. I grinned too. I asked him if he was happy. He looked up and thought for a while. Can you believe that? He thought for a while!! Tinyface answered with a careless yes. He said that going to school, eating tiffin and playing with other tiny faces makes him happy. Then he said, “I don’t have a father” (very sincerely). I closed my eyes and said to myself, “Yes, I know”. The last thing I expected Tinyface to say was when he said he doesn’t want to go home. Home…maybe…. “But home where?” I thought. All of Tinyface’s words went through my ears, right to my heart. Yes, straight to my heart.

Friend’s voice interrupted my thoughts as she called for me to head back to office.

Tinyface’s father was killed some time back. I don’t know why. I won’t want to know. Only Tinyface knows what’s in his mind. Barely 6 years old, Tinyface bears the ‘hurt’ alone. 

What’s going on in your mind? Do you just feel something in your heart? I think it’s the same feeling I have, the same question I have, the same hurt I have. Tinyface is just one in a million. Its not the age, not the race… it can be you, it can be me.

I needn’t write more. We are all capable of thinking, of learning and of experiencing…..and that’s why I’ll put down here. 

That day, that hot day, that work, that job, that place to be,… made me find some values I did not know or have before.  I am more than content when I think about that day. It was ‘just work’, ‘just time-pass’ at first, but it turned out to be ‘a destination’ I reached. Five minutes with Tinyface, five minutes with innocence.

Dear Tinyface…I was not looking for you, but you found me. You planted a seed in my heart and today it grows. …and you know what?, I think the same seed has just landed on someone else’s heart too; the one who is reading this.