Excursions

by Amit Gawande

While on my morning walk today, I came across a kid who was cycling around our gated community. I see him every day, alone, free — every time I see him, I know he’s enjoying his cycling. Today at a turn, I saw him sitting on the ground, his tumbled cycle next to him. I could see a lady with headphones and a couple busy with their chatters pass by him. The kid was staring down, scratching his knee, focused within.

I felt he wasn’t looking at anything particular, but rather was sad. Maybe he did look at a few people, with expectations, as they passed him by earlier, wishing someone to help him pick his cycle up. Maybe he had his expectations from humanity broken.

Anyway, as I came close to him, I asked him he was fine. All it took was my first word, and he was up on his feet, trying to pick his cycle. Once he gave me his permission to touch his cycle, I helped him get it up on its wheels. He adjusted his tiny spectacles over his nose with his wrist, mumbled a few words and paddled along. I soon saw him chasing pigeons with his cycle, the birds not flying away but hopping around. It looked as if the friends often played this game. In my opinion, his tumble today was a test that we adults failed.

What have we become as a Soceity that we prefer to remain plugged in to our digital worlds, that we don’t even acknowledge a saddened kid who simply needs a nudge to get back to enjoying the realities of life?