Sometimes, I look back and think, “What a foolish, foolish child I was.”
We lived in Vashi when I was very young, and like all children, I was always happier playing outside than being indoors. Unlike most other children, though, little Varsha loved to go and check that Mamma was still there. Just a little peek and a little hug were enough to keep me going for a long time.
Once, my mother took my sister and me with her to visit friends of hers. As usual, my sister and I went down to play. We were inattentive little children and did not notice that even though we lived on the first floor, these friends were different – they lived on the second floor.
After playing for a while, little Varsha decided to check on mamma. She went up to the first floor and saw that all four doors were locked.
I still remember my heart thumping in my head with fear.
I went down and told my sister. She came up with me. We saw the same thing. All four doors were locked.
Panicking, we ran to the gate of the society, asking random people to take us home. Though we were young, we were smart enough to know our address. We weren’t smart enough to know the names of the people we were visiting though. A kind uncle on a scooter offered to take us home.
Shortly after we reached, my mother, pale with fear, reached too – in a rickshaw.
I remember how profusely she thanked the kind uncle and I remember how confused I was by the whole situation.
Most of all, I remember that night when my parents sat with us and told us why we must never, never, never tell random people our address and ask them to bring us home. That’s when they taught us the important concept of ‘Kidnapping’. Wide-eyed, we listened, and never forgot.