This article was originally published in
It was a perfect mass movement to restore the lost boy to his grieving and anxious mother
BY MADHAVA C KURUP (a former Japan Malayalee)
There was magic in the air. The ten thousand-odd people thronging the vast amphitheatre, were all listening in rapt attention to the Master’s words. Then the bhajans started — melodious and mystical — they were touching the hearts of the young and the old, making them reverberate with joy.
I found myself in a strange predicament — the whole world out there having a great time while I was left manning the ‘Help’ desk, which was in the basement, right below the open stage.
There were a few volunteers who dropped in occasionally to pick up their badges or some other material, but they seemed to be in a hurry to get back where all the action was. I was reminded of the poem about Casabianca — the boy who stood on the burning deck, ‘whence all but he had fled’.
Suddenly, I heard a distinct wailing sound — it was like a sharp note of discord that was disturbing the harmonious fusion around me. I looked up and saw a young woman of around 30, struggling to gasp amidst the overflowing tears, and trying in vain to voice something. Her thin and fragile frame was being vigorously shaken by the convulsive sobs and I just sat there, watching in a state of shock, trying to ‘wish away’ the apparition.
“My Son! My Son! Sir, please help me find him.” I could barely make out the words as she broke down. In between the uncontrollable sobs I managed to piece the story together. Her name was Sunita and she had come for the event along with her seven-year-old son, from the nearby village. She had left her son with her neighbour to go for a quick rest-room-break and upon return found that the boy was missing.
“Don’t worry, your son will be safe. Please wait for the Satsang to be over and I will make an announcement over the PA system,” I said, but my words of reassurance had no effect. “Sir, please, he is a small child and it is already quite dark. How will you find him? Please do something right now!” She was literally pleading. I went up near the stage and requested for the announcement to be made, but was asked to wait until the bhajan was over. As I came down the steps I saw the pair of anxious eyes, waiting with hope. “Please don’t worry, they will be making the announcement shortly,” I said, turning away from her, unable to face the agony and anguish writ large on her face.
The music stopped and the compere announced that the child was missing and requested anyone who found him to bring him over to the stage. For a few minutes there was absolute silence and then came a roar from one of the farthest sections of the crowd. It looked as though a huge wave was sweeping across the ocean of masses as the boy was being passed from one hand to another, finally stopping at the main stage. I felt my eyes getting moist as Sunita rushed forward, scooped up her son in both her arms and hugged him as only a mother could. The frail, semi-literate woman was like the Earth Goddess personified — exemplifying the universal qualities of motherly love and affection.