Little Boy Lost in the Crowd
by Vaman Acharya
(Bengaluru, Karntaka, India)
A four year old boy was searching for his parents in the annual fair of Pavanpur, a small town on the bank of river Triveni. He was separated from his parents in the crowd. The child was continuously weeping for not finding his beloved.
Every year thousands of people used to gather in the fair. There were about one hundred stalls of clothes, electronics, cosmetics, books, grocery, medicines, toys and restaurant in the fair. The annual fair was organized by the authorities of Town Municipal council, Pavanpur. Besides locals, People from surrounding villages also used to attend the fair.
Vijay, a 12 year old boy of Pavanpur, was with his parents and watching the items from one stall to another and reached the same spot, where the lost child was present.
“Dad, can you see the child moving alone in search of his parents?” Vijay became curious.
“Yes! Vijay, such things are common in the fair. It is the duty of parents to take care of their children. Do not take it seriously and continue your shopping.”
Vijay was surprised at his dad's response.
“Dad, what is wrong in helping a child, who is in trouble?”
“Why do you want to invite trouble? Please keep quite,” warned his mom.
Vijay couldn't shut his mouth. He was adamant to help the lost child.
“Do you think helping the needy is inviting trouble?”
“Certainly, your anxiety to help the needy may land you in trouble. The beggars have devised a new method to earn easy money. They leave their little children in the crowd and train them to act as if they have separated from parents. Sympathizers among the crowd donate both in cash and kind,” explained his dad.
“Dad, I don’t think this child is a beggar by appearance. I'm sure he belongs to a respectable family,” said Vijay glancing at the child.
Mom intervened, “Vijay, it is better to think twice and listen to the advice of your dad.”
“I still remember a past incidence happened to me. When I was three year old, I was lost in the same fair without your notice. You had lodged a complaint with the police furnishing my identity and photo. It took more than three hours for the police to trace me. I was in the grip of petty criminals. They wanted to snatch my gold ring and the locket presented to me on the occasion of my third birth day. When I refused to part with the ornaments, one of them showed me a knife. I was bold enough to face the situation by entertaining them."
"Luckily," he continued, "one constable was passing through that way and had noticed this and arrested those culprits. I was asked to sit in the police station till your arrival. I don’t want any other children suffer like me. Hence, dad, please permit me to talk to the child. If we go on argue like this, there is no end for this. By then, the child will disappear from our sight and will become impossible to trace him.”
Ultimately his parents allowed him to meet the child, and they followed him.
The child was sitting on an elevated platform from the ground having few steps to climb. The other people were taking rest on the same platform. Nobody bothered to enquire about this child.
Vijay went nearer to the child.
“What is your name, my dear boy?” asked Vijay affectionately.
The child was weeping and unable to give a reply. Even after consoling and requesting him repeatedly, he did not respond. Vijay even thought that the child was a dumb.
His dad advised him to wait for some time. After five minutes, the child started talking, as though he felt he can trust him.
“Where are my mom and dad?” asked the child.
“You need not worry. I'm here to help you to find your parents. Please tell me your name.” said Vijay.
“I am Veer Kumar,” replied the boy.
“Can you tell me your parents' names and the place you belong to?” Vijay came more closer to him.
“Ramnath is my dad and Rukmini is my mom. We are from Shivpur village,” replied the boy in between his sobs.
“How did you get separated from your parents?”
“I was firmly holding the hands of my mom. Suddenly some people were running towards us and to make way for them I left my mom's hand and got separated. I didn’t know who they were? I am unable to find my parents even after an hour.” Veer said in tears, rolling over his cheek.
“Veer, can you show me the spot, from where you got separated.”
“Yes, let us go there.”
Veer moved to the right.
Within five minutes, they reached the spot. Veer became happy to see his parents, who were standing at some distance. He introduced them to Vijay by showing his finger towards them. His dad Ramnath was busy in making enquiries to the people by showing his photo. He had already lodged a complaint with the police. They were on the job.
Veer walked towards his dad and mom and as soon as he saw them he embraced them with tears of joy. Ramnath was briefed about the efforts made by Vijay to get back Veer. He expressed his gratitude to Vijay.
It was revealed that Ramnath was working as a scientific research officer at Washington DC. Rukmini was employed as a software engineer in the same place. Veer was admitted to a school as a baby sitter in the same neighborhood, where they were residing. The family was enjoying holiday for one month in India. Since their native place Shivpur village was just 20 kilometers away from Pavanpur, they had come to see the fair.
They went to the police station and informed about the getting back of their son. Sub-Inspector of Police was very much impressed to know the adventure of Vijay to trace out Veer. He too expressed thanks to Vijay.
Ramnath told Police officer about the preventive steps initiated at USA in case of a child lost in mall, movie, museum, theme park or fair. He added, “Finding a lost child in large crowds is not difficult in USA. When we take our children to a busy crowded place at USA, it’s important to familiarize your children with the environment you’re in. If you loose the child in a crowded place, you get immediate assistance. If you’re in a mall, find security, if you’re in a large store, find store management. In addition to this, there will be an announcement in the mike. Your child must always be within eyesight of one another.”
“Sir, now you’re in India. We are in no way behind USA. We do have a number of preventive measures to avoid such incidences. Who should follow the rules? Obviously, it is the people who should learn how to face such situation!" snapped the Police Officer.
Ramnath and others came out of the police station. He once again praised Vijay for his adventure and wished him to become a famous person of the country. On hearing the news of his heroic act, President of Town Municipal Council personally met Vijay and congratulated him.