I got out of the evening office shuttle, and treaded towards my apartment with heavy feet...as usual, the daily office routine, project deliveries, deadlines, expenses and other thoughts clouded my mind...i was caught in a fog of my own thoughts..in my own world, without a clue of what was happening around me...I just couldnt wait to get home, get out of those clothes and throw myself on the bed...and then fall into a deep slumber, my only relaxation...only to wake up the next day and follow that whole circus all over again...
"Hi !" a sweet voice piped up from nowhere. I looked around in vain to see from where on earth did that voice come from. "Hi!" it said again. I was at my door by then, and the cute cooing was coming from the house beyond the corridor. I went across there to gaze at a pair of eyes twinkling back at me from a door half open and a little head half stuck out.
"Hi" it said again. Despite the fatigue I couldnt help but smile and replied " Hi there! how are you?" ."I'm fine"those twinkling eyes replied in a shy voice " You look tired" "Yes dear" I said " Lot of things to do. whats your name?" I asked. "Maya..." it sweetly said. "Well Maya, your name is as sweet as your voice" I told her(presuming since Maya is a female name in India)
And then, those twinkling eyes peering at me through the half opened door just lit up into two beautiful stars!! I could actually see that child smile...so purely and beautifully through her eyes...the way only children could...And then she softly closed her door and I made way to mine...
From then on, whenever I returned from office, Maya would be there to greet me with her sweet voice and those adorable smiling eyes...the very sight of those would lift my spirits and give my mind some relief from all the turmoil it was going through. And she would be there everyday..no matter if I returned home late at 9 or 11. The door would softly half open and softly close after greeting me.
Then one day as I was trying the key to my lock,I turned aroung and said "Do come to meet me sometimes sweetie" "Can I come now??" she piped. "Yeah honey" I smiled" Youre welcome anytime" and then she came out from the half open door and stood before me, my pretty friend...about 6 years old and smiling so endearingly displaying a gap in her front teeth which seemed to have left her company only recently.
As days passed, Maya began paying me visit on weekends and when I was at home. Helping me with my cooking and chores around the house. Or just sitting beside me when I was emersed in a book or on my PC. Tiny feet and chubby ankles padding about my apartment in faded shorts and t-shirts with Japanese dolls on them...glossy curly hair fastened with a pretty head-band peering at my fish-tank...trying on my hiarbrush, my sneakers,my makeup...snuggling close to me while I took a seista on Sunday afternoons after a sumptous meal...
She became my sweet little friend and aide and I came to love and care for her deeply...What would I do without her I wondered? I became so attached to that sweet child looking upto me with those smiling eyes, she was my little darling.
The caring grew even more when I learnt one day...a painful truth from her mum.