Myles Harrington

Dancing in the Station

In India on June 1, 2010 at 7:41 pm

There she was just sat there, very sweet, very quiet and not more than three years old. I was in Siliguri‘s main police station and she was a lost child; Brianca. Surprisingly she didn’t seem scared at all but she clung to the man who had brought her in. She also attempted to make a run for the door a few times, I don’t know where she thought she was going. I bought her a mango juice carton which kept her occupied for a while, although most of it ended up on her and the floor.

Missing but not scared

I’d just arrived in town that morning from Kolkata on one of the worst bus journeys ever experienced by mankind. If there was a bus to hell that would probably be it. I had to share a single bed with a man who stank of bidies and at 3am the roof started gushing from a storm. Not to mention the suspension was f*cked, so every little bump caused me to whack my head on the ceiling. Perhaps that’s what caused the broken roof?

Two hours later, weary and battered, I was with one of ICSRS’s (ideal center for social research and self reliance) field workers, observing Raj do his day job. The paper work was completed at the station and we drove off on a motorbike with Brianca in between us screaming her head off. We stopped to buy some chocolate but she wouldn’t take it and five minutes later we arrived at the childrens’ shelter run by Conc’rn. While we were there Raj got a call. Another child had been found and his colleague Joyti, who was hosting me in Siliguri, had gone to pick her up. They arrived ten minutes later. This child was actually talking (a bit) and was older than Brianca so there was more hope for finding her parents.

The second lost child of the morning

Next was a trip to the boys’ shelter just up the road. A great bunch of kids all jumping around, singing songs and they were very polite “hello uncle, how are you?” As most kids I’ve encountered they loved having their photo taken so a photo shoot ensued.

At the lads' house

Today I had the pleasure of hanging out with Praggyaparamita and Arindam of Conc’rn at NJP train station finding new child arrivals, talking to them and guiding them to the drop-in-centre just outside of the station. The kids were very excitable, I don’t know whether it was because I was there, because they’d just had a glue hit or whether they were always like it. For some reason one of the boys, Bumba Das, kept saying one of the only English sentences he knew “I said, GET OUT!”, I don’t know where on earth he’d gotten that from so I taught him a new one that will probably help him get further in life “Give me money”. Then we danced on the platform to Praggyaparamita’s Bengali music on her mobile phone, which the children kept trying to sneak off with.

I said GET OUT!

Gettin jiggy wit it on platform 2

To finish off the day nicely I got some good news when I returned to Conc’rn’s office for lunch. Brianca had been picked up by her parents this morning.

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