John Galsworthy once said, “Life calls the tune, we dance.” On that sunny day in Agra, 7 of us stood at the entrance of the Taj Mahal taken aback by the number of people crowding the ticket counter for a chance to get a glimpse of one of the Seven Wonders of the World. Some of us had seen it once or twice, while others were looking forward to see it for the first time.
Somewhere between the chaotic non-existent ticket counter lines, the number of people and the heat, we realized that we would not make it through. Half-heartedly walking out of the area, we had to find another way to see the Taj and we did. In a peaceful park across the river, we sat in awe of the beauty that has drawn millions of people to India. However, this series isn’t about our quest to see the Taj Mahal, rather, it is about finding a boy who left his mark on us.
His name is Bobby, that’s what he told us anyway. He was about 10 or 12 when we first met him, one of the many kid hawkers in front of the Taj Mahal. Walking up to us, to our surprise, he started speaking in French. “He doesn’t have an accent!” exclaimed one of our friends, a French-speaking native. Our French-speaking friends all gathered around him and started talking to him, they were astounded — we all were. Bobby spoke to us in French, Spanish, English and Hindi, of course, but there was something more to him and we all knew it. We bought his key chains, gave him a hug and move out right after. We met many more like him in that few minutes, but Bobby remained with us. Four months later, we all find ourselves still thinking about him.
With proper education and language classes, these multi-lingual kids and their families can have a better life.
The hawkers at the Taj Mahal are mostly kids. They spend their days talking to foreigners and Indians alike, selling souvenirs for daily living; hence they pick up different languages easily. They speak in almost native French, Spanish, Korean, Japanese and many other languages. With proper education and language classes, these multi-lingual kids and their families can have a better life.
“So we’re going back to Agra to look for Bobby, and what if we do not find him? Do we have a back up?” One of the questions asked during our brainstorming sessions. “There are no back ups. We will find Bobby.”