Gursharn Singh Randhawa

     It was the winter of 1993. I got up one morning and saw through the window that it was raining. This meant a new responsibility for me that morning. I would need to take my two daughters, 7 and 6 years old to their school. Normally they went to school by a rickshaw but on a day like this I used to drop them by car. Two-three neighbourhood children would also get in. We had an old car but on a rainy day it was a great help not only to our daughters but to our neighbours too as at that time we were the only one having a car in our residential building, D. S. Barracks. I quickly got ready. While Surinder was dressing up the girls for school, I brought my daughter’s friend Himangni too to our house. I took an umbrella and put the three girls in car. I started the car and drove carefully. On reaching the school I came out of the car and opened the umbrella. One by one the girls came out and I tried to protect them from rain. But one umbrella was not sufficient for the four of us. We started walking towards the classroom. On the way at some places there were water pools and we had to walk through these. I saw the rainwater entering the shoes of the girls. As we reached the classroom, the girls immediately ran inside. Standing there I was thinking that water has gone into the shoes of the girls and their socks have become wet. I became worried as it was the winter month. The wet socks in winter could have made the children sick. I thought of doing something, rather than just worrying. So I came back home and took two pairs of socks. I took another pair from my neighbour’s house. Then I reached the school and requested the teacher to send the girls out for about five minutes. The teacher agreed. I made the three girls sit on a bench and removed their shoes and wet socks. Their little feet were wet and ice cold. Rubbing with my hands I dried and warmed them a little. Then I put on the new socks. After drying the shoes as much as possible I put them back on their feet. I felt relieved. This little act of bringing and changing the socks gave me a great joy and satisfaction. The girls must have soon forgotten all about it but this small incident became a memory for me to cherish for life.

      (The author is a Professor in the Department of Biotechnology, Indian Institute of Technology Roorkee, Uttarakhand, India; E.mail : SHARNFBS@IITR.ERNET.IN)