The Nepali boy of 12 who worked for me ran from the kitchen where he was making tea.
“Where is the wrist watch I kept on the table a while ago? It is only 8am and nobody had come to our house so far.
“Tell me the truth, you little rascal” shouted my husband.
There was silence. I was doing the puja that day being a Friday.
Meanwhile he had gone to the boy’s small room at the rear and had the box opened to find his watch inside.
I heard a slap and then my husband’s voice” You ungrateful thief. I have never liked your shifty eyes. I don’t want you anymore. Take your things and get out”
I heard the boy sobbing without responding to the accusation.
I left the puja in the middle and rushed in to see my husband holding the watch and the boy standing before him averting his gaze by lowering his head.
“Why are you accusing the young child? I had only given him the watch a little while ago” I said
“Who are you to gift my watch without my permission? Why didn’t he tell me so?”roared my husband
“Do remember that out of the six watches you have, I had gifted you five. This one you don’t wear as it has a metal strap and it hurts your wrist. When has it become things in our house like yours and mine?"
“You can gift the other watches also to your friends, I don’t care. Who am I to question you?” he replied. Touched by remorse at having slapped the boy, he added”At least you should have had the courtesy of telling me beforehand. I would not have wrongly accused the chap”
“I was busy with Friday puja.Who ever thought that you would be in a foul mood early in the morning?” I said
After my husband left for office, I called Akul and asked “Why did you do this? Have I ever kept you in want?”
The boy fell at my feet and clasped them as he said “Sorry, ma.I have betrayed your confidence in me. My friend from my village who works in the bakery across the road told me that his mom told him while he was talking to her that my father was hit by a lorry and is in hospital. He also said that his mom mentioning that my mom had no money.”
“You should have told me and I would have given you money. How can you steal? Is it not a sin?”
“I am very sorry ma.I did it in a weak moment when the devil took possession of my mind. I promise I will never in my life do such things again. Please do not send me away. I beg of you>”he implored
“It is ok.Never do again. I have faith in you. Let me go to ATM and draw some money. I will give you 5000 rupees and we can send it to your home immediately. Don’t open the door for anyone and take care.
I returned in 30 minutes and pressed the bell. The door was not opened. I pressed again with concern. When the door was not opened, I opened with my key and rushed in. I smelt something burning and rushed to the kitchen. I saw Akul lying in the floor in pain and crying .I saw an iron ladle by his side.
“Akul, what have you done to yourself? Remove the towel over your hand “I shouted only to see the deeply scalded hand of the boy from the hot ladle. I lifted the boy in my arms and rushed to ER.
“Ma, please excuse me. This will ever be a reminder to me in my life to stay straight. I could not bear your telling a lie on my behalf” Tears flowed from my eyes as I hugged the urchin