Cry Baby

Over crowded passenger bus was crawling. There was a lot of traffic. The journey was less than half done. Weather also was rather hot. Sun was peeping through the windows. Some of the younger passengers had opened top button of their shirts. Gautam looked around to see general mood of passengers. Most people were speaking on phone, which meant that the heat was not really affecting them, or at least they were not noticing the discomfort. Some were even dozing with their heads rolling sideways and others front and back. Gautam wiped beads of sweat from his forehead with the back of his palm. In a few seconds he heard a soft cry of a small baby. The next moment it quietened. But soon the wailing started again. The mother tried to rock the baby on her lap with sounds of “mumm, mumm”. The cry was from behind, so Gautam couldn’t see them. Soon the cry became very loud and kept going louder and louder. By now many passengers had started turning towards them. Some even suggested to the mother, “baby must be hungry”, “feed her”, “it is very hot, give her water”, “rock her”…

It was becoming very disturbing for Gautam to hear that continuous crying. A small baby’s cry can be very heart wrenching. Soon the baby started getting hiccups. All that sounded very distressing. Then cry started getting softer and weaker. Baby had become limp by now. Mother was looking up at her husband to do something. He seemed totally helpless. Baby now had become fully quiet. Her face tilted sideways down, seemingly lifeless. She had stopped moving her arms and legs…

Extremely worked up with emotions both husband and wife started shaking the baby, but of no avail. Gautam asked if there was doctor in the bus. No one came forward. Mother caught husband’s collar to do something. He seemed dumb struck. Young mother started whimpering. Gradually it turned into cries and then into loud wailing. She was beating her forehead now. Passengers in the bus were now hearing a woman’s cry instead of the baby’s. Mother was now fully out of control. Her body had started leaning towards isle. Husband took hold of the baby and supported his wife with his side so she wouldn’t fall off the seat…

At this point Gautam noticed that the baby was dressed up like an Eskimo! He instantly knew the reason for the baby’s problem. Parents had dressed her up in thick woollen sweater and pant of same material and pattern. Baby also had a monkey cap covering her head, side of the face and all of neck. Gautam urgently asked the man to remove all those woolens starting from monkey cap. Baby was finally left only in her vest and panty. By now the mother had cried enough and had resigned to her fate of losing the child. Gautam also asked everyone on that side to open the windows to let cool breeze in. Young  father now did not know who to tend to. Passenger besides the mother had given him his seat. Gautam said let the baby get some air…

Within a few seconds the baby kicked her legs violently once and then continuously, cried some more and started looking around. She held window’s railing. And soon was enjoying the breeze on her face.

Man looked at the revived child and then at his wife’s stoic expressionless face. 

…little girl was too small to make any sense of all this.

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