Was at a construction site today and the usual parade of women carrying mud was passing me when amid the adult women there was this little boy( I assume) walking past carrying a little plate with mud on his head. He was imitating his mother accurately right down to the walk and the swaying of the hips.
She walked past me six times during the period that I stood there and every time the little boy was walking alongside her with his little load. There was a big satisfied smile on his face that spoke nothing of odd hours, skipped meals or bad pay packages. It spoke nothing of aching limbs, persecuting heat or unwashed clothes.
What it spoke of was – unbridled enthusiasm and heart warming optimism.
Like this was the most respected, best profession in the world. To match his mother step for step and carry a little bit of her load.
Surprisingly seeing a shabbily dressed kid doing a minor degree of manual labor (just for fun)- I felt none of the cliched emotions that you normally do.
I didn’t feel pity at all.
I didn’t think of child labor and feel all self righteous.
I didn’t feel like grabbing him and putting him into a snobbish school with a pompous uniform and a schoolbag heavier than him.
Instead, I felt something akin to envy.
I offered him a polo mint. In return I was rewarded with a smile that could have put the sun to shame. He looked content. Blissful. He took the mint, popped it in his mouth and was on his way to complete his chore.
Only a child can know what it feels like to have the capability to love a plate full of mud and only an adult can know what it feels like to lose.