The events and characters below are absolutely imaginary. Any resemblance to true events is purely coincidental. Or is it?

The meeting was in the typical locale. Not as fancy as the umbrella-drink kind (god forbid that would be unacceptable), but with more digits on a menu item than on the waitress’ daily rate pay slip.

Nor and Jud were there early, facilitators as they were; Dodi right on time, with wife and kids waiting in the car; and I somewhere in between, to add the touch of wisdom that silver sideburns bring and the legitimacy of white skin’s effectiveness  and clout.

The meeting wasn’t long, they don’t need to be, and in any case, understanding is not a priority. The briefing showed a situation nothing out of the ordinary, the solution befitting the archetype bidding at sainthood.

By chance Dodi met Dani, the 12 year old street urchin with a beaming smile but not much else. Dani and his mother live on the side of the track where civic numbers don’t exist, nor do the people who shelter under lengths of blue tarpaulins.

For Dani school’s a luxury, his attendance frequency as sporadic as his mother’s meals. He’s shooting up, she is slowly disappearing inside the shabby rags hanging off her bones. Difficult to tell the likeness between the two if not for their beaming smiles; the wonders of genetics, or poise and pride abound?

Dodi knows well what it takes to make success, he’s made a good life from reaching targets, meeting objectives, bidding and outbidding with the astuteness of the gifted. All the while though, he’s kept his good heart beating, seizing on every opportunity to make good count. Nor and Jud, perceptively judicious, know too well how to apply first aid to a bleeding heart.

So the plan is simple: there’s a nice little house not too far from the slum, where mother could move to while Dodi pays the rent; Dani, meanwhile, can go to a residential school, the fees are a little high, but Dodi can afford them, beside, it would be worth it just to save a youngster’s fate.

Aw, if everything in life would be just this simple…! Can’t wait to tell them how their life’s about to leap into greener pasture.  Can hardly wait for their thankful and subjugate  response … just a short drive away now.

The awkwardness of the moment cut like a surgeon’s knife. Mother’s objections stuttered out slowly, not exactly resolute, but pleadingly assertive. Dani crawled behind mother’s rags, while his smile never waned. Dodi looked at me for confirmation of his righteousness, which he couldn’t get as I stood stunned and silent with nothing much to offer.

A few second of silence that seemed like an eternity, before Dodi’s wife reached for her purse. A few crisp blue bills passed the women’s hands, we made it for the car, they for a certain good time.


Starring in order of relevance:
Nor and Jud – the charity
Dodi and wife – the donor
Me – the consultant
The waitress – the tax-payer
Dani and Mother – the beneficiaries
The kids – themselves
The driver – I forgot to mention him in the story but he was there too

Foto: Mannar; ’09