Chiku was a boy who looked angelic but was a brat to the core. He was a silent monster who kept his mouth shut while he threw pebbles at children of his age, pulled hairs of sleeping babies, left the taps open at the army parties. He was a terror to all the children in the regiment, so much so that parents refused to attend parties if his parents were to be invited.
He did not bother to see what fate waited at this side of the wall. The iron box was on and was heated up enough to scald the skin. The fight for survival between the lizard and the cockroach engrossed him so much that he forgot all around him. The first contact between the iron box and the tender skin did not even get registered. It was after a few seconds later that he felt the pain, the sting, the hotness permeating through the skin. The skin between the thumb and the index finger was burnt badly.
At the Military Hospital in the small town of Mhow, the doctors were so used to the boy seeking medical attention that they knew him personally and all his likes and dislikes. They took care of the burnt area with the usual precision and ease that they are so capable of. He was sent home.
About three weeks later…
Chiku had this weird habit of drinking the leftover tea in the cups. After the guests went off from his house and were waving goodbyes to his parents, he would silently sneak off and start pouring teacup remnants into a cup, just to gulp it down in one go. So crazy was his love for tea.
His love for everything hot including tea had somehow died down due to the fact that his right hand was bandaged well and he was quite out of action and his wits too. His mother prepared some black coffee for her man. She called him twice before keeping the small steel glass of coffee on the kitchen platform.
Chiku, in the meanwhile, had seen the glass and felt the urge. He was a small boy and hence he raised himself on his toes and still couldn’t be there. He raised his arm and put it in the tiny glass and got stuck. The latent heat of steam is potent. Whatever little healed in the past three weeks was badly scalded again. He needed medical attention, yet again.
Children need care and constant vigilance so that they don’t end up in troubles of any kind. They need to be monitored but not shadowed or pursued by elders so that their privacy feels threatened.
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