I was delving deep into my writing pad when I heard that familiar helpless music – of the drumbeat. Each fall of the stick on the tautly drawn skin drum emphasizes the hunger and pain that went into the effort. The little drummer girl looked at her tiny young brother, mutely pleading with him to break his arms behind his back, for his body to pass through the self made loop of his hands.
He was a nameless wonder boy because he had to be. The oily charcoal stain under the nose of the kid, in the shape of a moustache, heightened the pathos of the desperately little boy, in the garb of a man. He started the act by rotating a weight tied by a string, attached to his cap, round and round and round. Then, even as people watched, he somersaulted, and then did it again.
He made his hand a loop and took it all the way behind, under his leg and to the front of his body. The loop had completed itself. All the while, the little drummer girl poured her frustration into the beaten old skin drum, each beat louder than the last.
When it ended, the shameless spectators, witness to the open violation of the kids, began to concentrate on other things - for the little ones would soon come to them, to seek the rewards of pity for the inhuman act they had to perform.
The little drummer girl came to me and pointed at the empty food packet on my seat. She looked me in the eye and begged for food. I looked at my fat tummy and the tummy that was hardly there on her, for the first time in my life, I felt truly ashamed.
I pulled out my bag and emptied it on her lap. She dutifully took the food, gave a bun to her brother and saved the rest in the inside of the drum. As they walked on, I felt true sadness, but I had to blink away tears. Men don’t cry. But as I watched the young boy disappear with a bun in one hand and the metal ring to contort his body with in the other, all pretenses left me.
I cried like a baby…