Slippers

“What are you doing?”

Before I knew it, a boy, around six or seven of age, walked over to me. He was dressed in a shabby old t-shirt – color of which had gone from red to muddy brown – and three quarter pants that had been patched up several times. He had no slippers. His feet were covered in sand from the construction site nearby. I immediately made a presumption that he was one of the many children whose parents worked as laborers and lived in temporary aluminium roofed dwellings.

“Madam, you better save your life and go back to where you came from” he said with his facial expressions mimicking Salman Khan.

It was perhaps the cutest threat I had received in twenty years. Like an idiot, I giggled.

“Go go, run away!”, he yelled in a vain attempt to sound angry.
“I can’t”
“Why?”
“I can’t leave without my man”

I pointed at more similar little boys who had my best friend in their custody. They stood around him like this was Chipko Movement 2.

“Your man?” the boy questioned with raised eyebrows.
“Yeah, he’s mine. Now, can you please tell your boys to allow him to leave?”

“No madam, you leave. He will either give us Rs.50 or he will not leave today”

This adorable little bully had both me and my best friend smiling away. He also reminded me of what we had learnt in class an hour ago.

“Assault can be anything that creates fear in the mind of another. It can be a threat, showing of fist so on and so forth. However, there should be capability.
For example, if a small boy threatens an adult, that if he does not leave, he will be hurt, it is not assault, because of lack of capability”

“Ishita?” a familiar voice brought me back to the moment.

I looked up to see my best friend, with his palms covering his mouth. He was giggling like a toddler.

“Yeah? How do you feel? Being bullied by children?” I said.
“This is pretty fun. We made a deal” he replied with a grin.

“A deal?”
“Yeah, they said, if I promise to bring them each a pair of slippers tomorrow, they will let me leave today. I agreed”

“Ahan? Well, let’s get going then. We need find a store before the sun sets!”

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