Yesterday was a bad day. Yesterday was a good day. It started out as a normal day. The kind where you get up in the morning, rush your child as you send her to school, hustle through breakfast and sprint to office. The kind where meetings tumble in one after another, and you are loaded with deadlines. In the midst of all this normality of my life, we had an official lunch invitation.
Now, generally, I would have tagged along with one of my colleagues with a car. I was finishing a meeting, and I let them go ahead. I had half a mind to cancel, but colleagues called to say I must attend. So I did. Since I had to attend another call, I decided to leave early. Taxis didn´t seem to be available, so I decided to walk to my office which was 10 minutes away. It was afternoon, the road was quite busy, and we walk around here quite a lot. It could only be some good exercise. Suddenly, I was surrounded by these three little kids, who were just about my daughter´s age, thrusting some random charts at me in a bid to sell. They looked forlorn and in need, and I felt sorry not buying from them. So I very gently declined, ruffled the hair of one of the kids, and walked away.
I knew within minutes that my pocket was lighter. I checked, and what I suspected was true – my new phone was gone! Half unsure, I turned and I saw the kids walking away. I could not bring myself to believe that they could have done the deed, so I walked further ahead to check. However, the hurried manner the kids were leaving struck me and I tried chasing them. Needless to say I lost them pretty soon. It became a kind of joke in office and we all discussed alternatives. I wanted to go back and check the same place again, but was warned that these children are supervised by adults who could be dangerous.
More than feeling sad about my phone gone, I feel sad that such little children are being used for petty crimes. What kind of future can we expect for them? Were they relatives of these dangerous adults, or were they kids trafficked away from their families and forced into crime? What if I did manage to catch one of them?. Would someone have come to attack me and save the child from my clutches, or would the child have been left to fend for himself? If left to fend, what would I have done with the child? Let him go, or take him to police, or to some center to rehabilitate him? What can we do for such children? Sadly, I don´t have convincing answers to my questions.
I went back almost immediately to my normal world of calls and deadlines. Reaching home in the evening, I saw my daughter playing detective, determined to figure out if she could recover my phone. When she heard that the thieves were children her own age, she said, ´but that is a bad thing to do, and they should be punished´. I could not tell my girl that probably, they´re already living through hell. And then came the good part. ´Mumma, you remember the story of the king who hurt his finger and had to cut if off? He was caught by jungle people and tied to a tree. Then they saw that he didn´t have a finger, and could not offer him to their God, so they let him go. May be, you losing your phone will turn out good for you! And you know, we need to pull the bow backwards to shoot an arrow? So when life pulls you backwards, it is only because you´re going to go forward faster. It´s a good thing afterall that you lost your phone, mumma´.
There! I don´t know what good my phone getting stolen can do for me. But I am willing to believe, and I am willing to wait for that answer. If getting my phone stolen means I get to hear such profound and totally well meaning words from my girl, I can deal with stolen phones. And I can live in the belief that hopefully, life is pulling those children backwards, and will launch them forward with great velocity.
So we celebrated the end of day with house specials – spicy chicken wings and fiery laal maas.