I see her everyday. She goes for a walk with her father around 6 pm. A little girl of perhaps two years, short for her age, with a mushroom cut hair style, more like a toupee, that can look cute only on kids. They go for a walk everyday; she in her pink crocs and two pigtails and he in his white sports shoes and a slightly balding head. She normally wears a tee shirt with slacks and he wears stiff collared white tee shirt and sport shorts. I noticed her the very first time for her peculiar walking style. Funnily, it was similar to mine. Her left hand swings far and wide overcompensating for her non-moving right hand. She walks on ball of her feet, her heels hardly touching the ground, like a ballerina. But what’s strange is that for a girl so young, she never holds her father’s hands nor does he insist upon it. In fact, she never walks besides her father. There is always a good 10 metres of distance between the two of them; she following him wherever he goes. They talk over that 10 metres, loud enough for the passersby and onlookers, such as myself, to catch.
They usually take one hour before they head back home. They live couple of blocks away and our house falls on their route. I know nothing about them, other than the fact that they are father-daughter. Their names, their story, their address, nothing, but seeing them everyday I have imagined a world for them. An idle mind’s devilry if you will. I imagine them to be a close-knit family of three. The child is much loved, without doubt, but not pampered. A pampered child of that age would go for walks being carried in her father’s arms, rather than walking behind him. The father must be around 40 and seeing the child’s age one might say that they couple had her fairly late into their marriage. Perhaps after much difficulty, maybe even with medical intervention and assistance. The mother, who never joins them on these walks, perhaps is a stay at home mother who gets this one hour for herself when the father takes the child away. The father, a little on the heavier side, uses this time to bond with her daughter more than for fitness and yet, he is always dressed up for it. The child is the type who is trusting in nature. She displays no urge of reassurance for her security. She walks confidently, head held high, behind her father. Her steps are non-hurried and sure. The father isn’t worried himself, he hardly turns back to check on her. The chitchat does that for him.
Today she did something. While coming back, walking behind her father, she stopped and turned back. Her father stopped too and turned around, the 10 meters still strong. She turned around to wave to two jawans (privates) riding on their bicycles. It was a kind, sweet, unassuming gesture. Her father beckoned her, called her to “catch him” but she didn’t hear. She kept waving till they were some distance away. They smiled broadly and waved back too. Once satisfied, she turned around and walked as usual, with a little prance and a little trot. Her world was the same. It was regular. She had not done anything monumental. For me, not only was it a pleasant sight, the types that makes one smile, but also it spoke much more. A little girl displayed that social class is baseless and imaginary. That, what is not baseless but true are these human interactions and humanity. I wish we didn’t need these reminders. But sadly, we do!