Currently I am on a dubious assignment conjured up by my boss and her peers which took me past the St. Patrick’s Cathedral on the right and the Sacred Heart Convent on the left. It’s a spot where Hosur Rd. meets the Residency Rd. and has a long traffic signal. While waiting, I noticed the cobbler kiosk on the left. I have seen it many times before and like any other city dweller learned to forget about it as soon as the light changed to green. Today there was this little girl no more than six in her rather dirty school uniform, with no shoes and hair neatly plaited with red ribbons. She stood right in front of the cobbler kiosk reading a notebook. In a moment I realized she was learning the multiplication table. Completely immersed in her notebook, she kept on reciting the numbers as the pedestrians rushed by, the buses screeched, the autorickshaws honked away and the general din of a busy intersection engulfed her. She stood and practiced her numbers with scant attention to what was happening around her. The middle aged man and a teen aged boy working in the kiosk occasionally looked up at her. The easy comfort of the three leads me to believe that they must be a family. I wanted to get down from the vehicle and may be smile at her and say ‘I am proud of you’ but hesitated. I was the outsider here and didn’t want her concentration to waver. The lights changed and before I could fish out the camera to take her picture the vehicle moved. I just hope her parents know how lucky they are. With the excesses we tend to bring up our children, often the purpose is lost and the value warped. All I wish for her is to get a fair deal and be who she wants to be without getting in the cross hair of our corrupt social fabric. God bless.