Vaswani Uncle- The Alleged Paedophile #A-ZChallenge2018

Vaswani Uncle loved playing with kids in the park. I always used to find him in the park swinging some child or helping some child get off the slide. He had a scooter and kids flocked around him for a free joyride. He used to indulge kids with chocolates and ice creams.

My son was a toddler then and he had a nanny who used to take him down to play. One day instead of the nanny I took him down. My son was running all over the place. I got tired running behind him and sat on a bench. An aunty from our society came and sat next to me. She smiled and after a couple of minutes she brought her face near my ears and said almost in a whisper “you should be careful with your child” I looked at her awkwardly but smiled politely. She continued “I have told your maid also, so many times but she never listens but you should be careful”. Now, I was intrigued, I looked at her with wide eyes. That kind of gave her the encouragement to carry on. Her voice was louder now. She said “Your son plays with that Vaswani but you should never allow him to play with Vaswani. He is not a good man”. I didn’t ask her why but the question was prominent in my eyes. She said, “He used to be very rich but then lost everything to alcohol and women, his daughter is a prostitute and this man does bad things to kids”. The last part of her sentence rang an alarm in my mind. These days we read so many cases in newspapers that this literally shook the mother in me.

I saw my son running and Vaswani Uncle running behind him with his arms ready to hold the little one if he trips. I ran to my son and took him away. I gave a polite smile and said thank you but tried to hurriedly leave the place. Mr. Vaswani came to me and said “your son is very naughty; your maid is not competent enough to manage him. You should be more careful with him.”  The words of that Aunty were still fresh in my mind and therefore I was feeling uncomfortable in front of this man.

Next day onwards, I started bringing my son down myself. Each day that Aunty used to come and sit next to me and start talking about things that had absolutely no significance in my life. She used to talk about the maids and how the maids had affairs with the drivers, then she used to keep telling me that working moms are so negligent about their kids, etc, etc. Gradually, I understood that the Aunty was the quintessential Indian Aunty whose only job was to spread rumors. Yet, I was unable to give a clean chit to Mr. Vaswani and stayed vigilant about him.

A few months later, one day I was in the elevator when I met Mr. Vaswani. He looked at me and with pleading eyes said “would you send your son to a birthday party at my place today evening?” I was surprised as I knew he stayed alone. I asked inquisitively, “whose birthday party?” he replied “my granddaughter’s” his eyes were forlorn. I said that I never knew he had a grandchild. He sighed and didn’t reply to the question and just said: “please send him”.

Kids love birthday parties and they don’t really care whose party it is. In the evening my son got dressed nicely and went to the party.  I sent my maid with him. He came back and said that the party was great fun, he played games, had tattoos drawn, danced and the food was also yummy. Later on, my maid said ‘Didi, Kiska birthday samajh mein nahi aya (I didn’t understand whose birthday it was.)

A few days later I again met Mr. Vaswani and I thanked him for the party and then asked “where was the birthday girl?” he looked at me and then pointed his index finger towards the sky. I skipped a heartbeat and almost choked. He said, “We lost her four years back but we keep her memory alive”. He then said ‘I love playing with kids because then I feel like my Ria is still with me.’

I started caring less about the rumor that he was a pedophile. I never stopped my son from playing with him and my son never complained anything about him. In fact, he used to be very fond of him. Mr. Vaswani became the local guardian of my son in the kid’s garden. Till date, he always keeps me updated about my son’s mischief’s in the garden. Even now, If my son gets bullied, he is the first man to run and save him. “Kuch to log kahenge, loga ka kaam hain kehna.…..”

 

26 thoughts on “Vaswani Uncle- The Alleged Paedophile #A-ZChallenge2018

  1. BellyBytes says:

    Poor Mr Vaswani and what a nasty woman that old aunty was . But there are weirdos in this world . I for one, never talk to little kids I don’t know because I don’t want to be labelled as that old lady who lures kids !!! With so much child abuse going on, it’s better to let children be .

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Varad says:

    It’s better to err on the side of caution. It was a great thing that Vaswani uncle turned out to be a gem, but there could easily be other monsters lurking around. I like to play with kids (God! even this innocuous line sounds so wrong these days :X), but the times are such that I usually give them only high fives and be on my way.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. geekanika says:

    Personally I find this a very difficult situation. I was in the park the other day, when a lady told me some boy, dark skinned appeared to be in his twenties, possibly from a lower socioeconomic class, was calling out to my daughter trying to lure her. I was sitting a few feet away from the slide where she was playing, but not within hearing range if he was talking softly. I don’t know what he said to her, but I pulled her away and went to a different part of the park. I wasn’t taking any chances. My daughter said she wasn’t aware of him saying anything at all. As my daughter and I were walking away, the lady had the watchman remove him from the park complaining about my daughter being harassed and I had mixed feelings.

    The thing is I don’t know to date if it was just a bias, not necessarily conscious, against someone poor or dark? But I had to be careful, and without any other information i had to put my daughter’s safety first. This current atmosphere has us suspecting everyone. So many children go missing everyday. It is a tough call for mothers because children are often hurt by people who seem fine. But it must be so sad for men. They can’t even talk to kids without being suspected.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. mammaspeaks says:

    Such a beautiful story! I am glad you yourself tested that man out instead of believing some gossip from that nasty aunty. We had one uncle in the society too, he always had rosary beads in his hands and would do ram-ram-ram and then touch girls inappropriately. So, I’d be careful of old uncles, but wouldn’t accept everything against them straight up.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Anonymous says:

    I am not a person who reads anything other than it is actually necessary for me. This is the first story of yours that I have read and read it completely. It was so pleasant to go through the lines that I can not stop reading till the end. Such an inspirational, thematically enriched piece Balaka. Continue leaving articles like this and make more and more followers like me. Wish you all the success in any endeavor.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ranjita Mookherjee says:

      I am not a person who reads anything other than it is actually necessary for me. This is the first story of yours that I have read and read it completely. It was so pleasant to go through the lines that I can not stop reading till the end. Such an inspirational, thematically enriched piece Balaka. Continue leaving articles like this and make more and more followers like me. Wish you all the success in any endeavor.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Shilpa Garg says:

    I am having mixed feelings after reading this. One one hand, I’d be wary of him, on the other hand, I would want to negate all the rumors and go by your trust in him. But the former feeling is stronger…
    We live in such trying times, that it isnt easy to trust people and especially if we have heard some rumors!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. SeemaMisra says:

    Today, even a whisper of child abuse, can make a mom’s heart stop. Its really nice that over time, your got to know and trust Vasvani uncle.

    I have found gossip mongers everywhere, even amongst sophisticated IT teams. The worst conversations are those centered around other people. Its our choice to ignore them or give them attention and fuel the gossips.

    Waiting at Bikaner House, Delhi

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Anagha Yatin says:

    To hell with gossip mongers! With so much of mistrust in the air, courtesy recent developments, its so difficult to trust a person specially when our kids are concerned.

    Liked by 1 person

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