Long, long ago...when I just started to walk, and maybe when I realized that my legs could actually take me wherever I please...my life played out like a nightmare.
My dad was deputed on the auditing job, so we literally travelled country-wide back then - Dad, mom, my sis, and myself. It was some place in Andhra Pradesh, if I remember right. We didn't know the local language (Telugu). Dad & Mom managed with English and the spatter of Hindi they knew.
It was just a week in this new place. My mom gave me an oil massage and left me for maybe about 5 minutes to get some hot water for the bath. Meanwhile, I ventured out of the bathroom. Reached the gate, opened the lock and wandered about the entrance (Not sure what exactly happened here, because this is a third person account that I am relating here).
Our milk-maid was walking down our lane to deliver milk at our house, when she saw this stranger carrying me and walking in the opposite direction. He didn't look related to us and she'd never seen him in the vicinity before. By instinct, she realized there was something wrong. She immediately approached him and enquired who he was, how he was related to me and where he was headed with me in his arms...He muttered something under his breath, but was visibly shaken. She threatened to report him to the police unless he handed me over to her immediately. He couldn't get himself to say anything, since this must have been something he had least expected. He thought he could get away scotfree. He did eventually. But at least he was frightened enough to put me down and make his escape while he could.
Back at home, my mom was all anxious and wondering where I had vanished. Her eyes were welling with tears and flooding down her cheeks. She didn't know what to do. The Bank Manager came down and consoled her saying they'd do everything they could to help find me. And then, the milk-maid made a grand entry, with me in her arms. She narrated the whole incident.
I was lost and found. It was a miracle indeed. My angel in disguise! I still wonder what would have happened to me if the milk-maid hadn't come there that very moment . He would have probably whisked me away, given me a begging bowl and sent me out in the streets to beg. It's big business I hear. It happens, really! Hundreds of children are, this very moment. It's sad, but it's the truth. Wish we could do something to stop this horrendous crime!