Getting down from the bus, he slowly walked over to his office, which was a ten minute walk away. It was early in the morning, and he could see the health conscious people running their rounds in the parks, the shop owners lighting up the small lamp in front of their deities, hoping and praying for a good day of business, the birds leaving their nests in search of their day’s fill, the servants of the home walking their masters’ dogs and like so, the city slowly waking up and coming to life.
What hurt him most was seeing those little kids, on such cold mornings, with their heavy bags and sleepy eyes, waiting for their ride on the express way to hell. Many of them called it school. He knew of parents who just wanted their kids out of their way so that they could work, enjoy and have their own lives. He could not help but wonder then why they brought these poor little souls into this world in the first place. He hated school.
His stride was slow. There was no hurry. Unlike the other days, today he had no song on his lips. He was lost in thought thinking of the suffering that many kids had to face in the name of education. To make things worse, child molesters lurked in every nook and corner. It was only recently that a drug gang was busted near an Upper Primary School in his village. Evil had its roots so close to our loved ones, closer than us, pampering and calling to them in their most vulnerable and private moments.
All of a sudden, a van turned around the corner and screeched past him. The ghastly face of the children inside told him all that he needed to know. In an instant, he picked up a big branch that was lying close to him and threw it at the van. The bewildered driver applied the brakes and tried to turn into the next lane. However, within a few seconds, he had jumped on the fence, ran across and caught up with the van.
He banged on the driver’s door, making the van come to a complete stand still. The screams of the children within got his adrenaline pumped up, and he pulled open the door. He caught the driver by his collar and threw him out of the van, yelling at him.
“You nasty little piece of shite. You ain’t kidnapping anyone today!”
The commotion had got few of the neighbours out. They ran and caught him while he was landing punch after punch on the driver’s skinny face, whose slightly protruded teeth was bleeding by then.
“What are you doing!? That’s the driver taking those kids to school!”, shouted one of them.
“Let go of me! I just saved those kids from this sick kidnapper!”, he retorted.
“Are you crazy?”
“Ask them!”, he shouted and ran over to the back of the van. He opened the door and asked, “Don’t worry, don’t worry. Everything’s fine now. Uncle has taken care of the bad man. Tell me, how did he get you?”
“We are going to school uncle. We got in the van from our homes”, one of the kids replied, to which all the other kids nodded approvingly in unison.
“But.. but.. I saved you… You don’t have to. You can get out.. I saved you…”
The realization slowly dawned on him. He lowered his gaze, and fell on his knees, and sat there, a defeated man.