The Train Ride Yesterday

Yesterday, when I boarded the train, I saw a mother and child sitting in the seat, with the mother giving a chocolate to the child. The child must be about 4 years old, he had an instrument attached from his the back of his t shirt to the lower part of his head.

I realised the child was differently abled, by the way the mother was talking to the child. The child was insistent on removing the cover the of the chocolate by himself. She gave in but he couldnt remove it completely and started using his teeth. She then took it from him and he hit her on the face. She didnt react but told him very very politely that he didnt do the right thing. He caught his ears immediately as if to say sorry and handed over the chocolate to her and asked her in sign language to remove it. She told him again ‘Say Mama, remove’ He didnt, he pointed in sign language. Again she told him. This went on for about 6 times, before he said ‘Mama, open’

And the lady’s face broke into a smile, which I wish I could have captured and bottled up to look whenever I am upset.

Eventually the boy got bored of sitting and came near me. He looked at me.

I said ‘hello’

He smiled shyly.

I asked him did you like your chocolate

He nodded.

I said ‘no tell me yes or no’

He nodded and smiled.

I said ‘tell me, did you like it, yes or no’

He mumbled something.

I said ‘Can I have a tiny bite of your chocolate?’

He pointed to his tummy and said in sign language that it was already in his tummy.

I said ‘give me from your tummy.’

He pretended to ignore me.

The mother said ‘see what aunty is saying V, will you give to aunty from your tummy’

The boy started laughing loudly. A gay loud laughter which comes from the tummy which makes you realise what happiness is all about. The kind of laughter which only a child is capable of bringing out, from the depths of his stomach.

And then he started picking his nose. I told him, please dont do that, its not a good habit.

He smiled and continued.

A lady next to me asked (very insensitively infact) whats that device on his head.

I looked at her aghast and just mumbled ‘he is not my child’

The mother looked into her eyes very matter of factly and said ‘Thats an hearing aid. He has speech issues and I am just getting him back from his speech therapy classes’

The woman I think realised she was being a bit insensitive.

I asked the boy ‘Where are your classes?’

He pointed to his mother, and instructed her to tell me where his classes were.

She named a suburb which was very very far away from where we were going. Do you go there everyday I asked. No, twice a week, but it seems pretty effective, as long as we continue to talk to him in one language and insist he replies back however he can.

I said ‘thats great’

Meantime the boy showed me his umbrella. A black one with white polka dots. It was pouring outside the train. He pointed out and then indicated that he uses the umbrella in the rain. And asked me where was mine (all in sign language)

I said mine was in the bag. He asked to see it. I looked at his mother. She nodded. I said ‘ask me what you want’

He smiled and pointed his umbrella.

I said ‘I dont understand, tell me what you want to see’

This again happened 5 times before he pointed to his umbrella and mumbled ‘ella’

I took out mine. He laughed again. And I told him his was much prettier than mine.

HE immediately said yes. The look on his mother’s face was priceless. She smiled at me.

When their usual station came, he pointed to his mother that he wanted to get down. I was astonished that a kid so young remembered where they had to get down. But they were coming a bit further, since his mother had some work.

HE got angry and started picking his nose again. I said dont do it beta. His mother tried to remove his hand and he hit her again. My first reaction was no, dont hit your mother. He looked at me angrily, and then his mother. His face changed. He again held his ears as if to say sorry.

Then I got up and said bye to him. He looked at me, smiled and screamed ‘Bubyeeeeee’ and I think it was the happiest moment of the day for me. He then pointed to my umbrella and said ‘up’ as if to tell me to use the umbrella when it was raining. I think that was the point I choked up a bit.

I wanted to write this incident down because the next time I crib about life, I know there are so many parents who undergo so much for their children. His mother was the epitome of patience I think!


About R's Mom

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75 Responses to The Train Ride Yesterday

  1. You handled the situation very well. I’m sure the boy’s mother must be wishing that there are more people like you.

    Your beautiful, straight-from-the-heart post reminds me of one of my favourite sayings:
    “I cried because I had no shoes. Then I met a man who had no feet.” – Wally Lamb

  2. Bikramjit says:

    God bless them both the mom and the little guy.. And You tooooo for talking to him all the time .. usually no one would have bothered talking ..

  3. The Bride says:

    I teared up, and I wasn’t even there.

  4. mahabore says:

    Extremely touching incident and it is incidents like these that leave us with lessons for a lifetime, don’t they πŸ™‚

  5. Maya says:

    This morning the husband showed me an email from his manager in the US. She has a one year old who has just been diagnosed with leukemia. He had not known about it and had apparently followed up on some work. And, then someone had told the husband about her son’s condition and he had sent an apology email to her. What she wrote back broke my heart. She had said, ‘Keep your prayers coming; we need a lot of those. Meanwhile, hug your kids as tightly as you can and keep them close to you. Always!’ I sobbed then and am sobbing now like anything. How much we are all blessed and should count our blessings! Sigh. I only hope and pray that God give these parents the strength to deal with these children.

  6. R’s Mom,

    I am wordless. And a salute the Mon, the kid, and to you!

  7. kirti says:

    Loved this post RM. when I run out of patience with my kid , I should remember that there are parents whose patience’ lower limit starts from where mine ends. I will always remember this post of yours ………to learn to be better at patience and to appreciate that what it takes to raise a kid with different needs is Patience , optimism, persistent and above all accept the reality uncomplainingly and seek the solution. My kudos to all such parents out there.

  8. ashreyamom says:

    this post brought tears in my eyes.. i loose my patience when i have make bunty write her homework… wish i could learn to be more polite.. 😦

  9. Zephyr says:

    It indeed is revealing to find so much pain around us. If we only cared to look and of course look outside us, our family, our kids our…….our……There are thousands like that mother who go through each day one day at a time making the world a better place without even knowing ;that they are making a difference. Beautiful post, RM.

    • R's Mom says:

      Exactly…I really learnt a lot yesterday..for all the cribbing I do..I should just look around and see people doing so much more and so much more happily!

  10. Rahmath says:


  11. chattywren says:

    Such a humbling story! Am going to remember this post for when I lose my patience with my children over small-small things!

  12. srividhya says:

    Very touchy πŸ™‚ great post.. I really like the last paragraph abot not to crib..

  13. MR says:

    I cant decide if i admire the mom more or the child

  14. What an inspiring story…. You say it so correctly in your last para….. I think we who have it all crib the most 😦 …..

  15. Neeli says:

    An experience worth sharing! Hats off to that mother and other such ladies!
    This reminds me of my journey in local trains of chennai. I had witnessed couple of mothers taking care of their special kids! while we co-passengers looked at them with amazement, pity, the mothers didnt give a damn to those eyes and only showered their love and care to their kids!

    • R's Mom says:

      yes..the mom was so super cool and wonderful..when the lady asked what device was it..she didnt pretend to haw and hum..she just said it so matter of factly..I loved loved loved that

  16. kinmin says:

    This is such a touching post RM.. I admire your ability to find the best in everyone and every situation!

  17. Nitya says:

    Silent reader. Couldn’t be silent today – I choked up a bit too.

  18. pixie says:

    I had tears in my eyes.. such a beautiful child..

  19. anisnest says:

    thanks for sharing this incident for making us also count our blessings…

  20. Comfy says:

    When we are stressed about our day to day life we forget what so many other people face, don’t we?
    Thanks for sharing the story RM! I will try and remember for the time when I go on a rant about my life.

  21. Loved it RM! I have no words to say. You are such a sweetheart!

  22. This brought me to tears, RM. Some close friends of us are going through something similar with their 3 year old boy and their strength and patience is unimaginable.

  23. Santulan says:

    Woow.. Both the kid and mom are just wow

  24. This broke my heart, and touched me in the deepest of ways, RM.
    God bless the child and his family.

  25. Teary eyed RM, early in the morning, after all that kajal I put for a change.
    It must be so tough but I think as a mother it would come naturally, the patience, the tolerance, however cliched it might sound.
    You described it so beautifully too. Hugs.

    • R's Mom says:

      Aiyo sorry…hope the kajal didnt make you look panda eyed!

      yes yes yes…it does come naturally, but to some folks like me, I really need to make an effort…I am pretty un-maternal that ways I think

      hugs hugs

  26. Deepa says:

    wow, such a lovely woman, his mom. I cannot even imagine being that patient with my kid(infact, I’m most certainly not most days) and with the effort she takes traveling on crowded local trains, getting stares from insensitive or simply curious folks at the hearing device and then having to painstakingly insist on the child using his words…..I would’ve shriveled and died a little inside each day. And you were so cute with the boy too even though I’m sure you’d had a long day yourself so you’re a sweetie too:-)

    My niece has cerebral palsy and while my bro-in-law is kind of abrupt and not very patient with her her mom(my husband’s sister) is infinitely loving and inhumanly patient with her. She can barely hold up her neck forget balancing the rest of her body or speaking or doing things for herself yet everyday after work my sis-in-law is at it- endless physical therapy in the pool, walking sessions with the walker(she doesn’t want her in a wheelchair which is the norm for many kids with her ailments), music and word practice. She sleeps exhausted at around 1 a.m. every night(after finishing up office work) and is at it again the next day at 5 a.m., 365 days a year. Every child who needs additional help in coping needs an angel of a parent or two and there are enough of them I hope to go around.

  27. Prachee says:

    Lots of things to learn from such beautiful people…hats off to the Mom..!!
    Thanks for sharing RM.

  28. That’s a very touching post RM! Thank you for sharing and making each of us reflect on so many aspects of life…

  29. Mukund says:

    Thanks for sharing! The lesson on patience & forbearance is applicable beyond the way we treat our kids.

  30. Suma says:

    Beautiful post RM and loved it!! thanks a lot for sharing this incident and making us also count our blessing!!!

  31. thingjummings says:

    I’ve been secretly following your blog like a ninja…and I must say your blogs make me believe that the world is still a nice place…!!

  32. shachi18 says:

    amazing! I am always in awe of moms who have special need children. I know a few of those and it’s remarkable how they parent – I always get inspired from them! And kudos to you for being so sweet to the child….he needs it more than anyone else.

  33. freakyveggie says:

    Very touching, am just speechless… Wish the mother’s efforts are answered soon…..

  34. Awwwww, i normally get bugged with kids. esp the hyper , noisy, crying ones. This will teach me a thing or two about patience.

    Both his mom, and you, taught me that
    thanks :’)

  35. Sangitha says:

    And you’re the helper that mom will be talking about, the one who didn’t get bugged, didn’t stare but helped, was one of the village it takes to bring up kids – all kids but more so for the differently abled. So proud of you for doing and being this, R’s mom. Tons of hugs!

  36. Pingback: A Tag! :-D | Life and Times in Bangalore

  37. Ramya says:

    Hey RM… came to ur place(the wordpress site ;)) after a very looong time n this one left me having tears in eyes… You have a great deal of inner strength to talk with the kid. I somehow always feel bad and sad seeing them. 😦

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