Return to Daya Dan

I’ve missed the boys at Daya Dan so, so much.

So it was with great anticipation that I returned to Nimtala Ghat Street.

I took an auto rickshaw to Kankurgachi, then one to Maniktola, and finally walked the length of the road to Nimtala Ghat Street because I was early and needed to pass the time.

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A typical scene…

One man on the auto asked me some questions, and after every answer he said, “Thank you. Thank you. Thank you so much.” I tried not to laugh at his gratitude.  The men on the auto started arguing. Their curiosity stemmed from how I seemed to know my way around. It’s true that Calcutta has ceased to astonish me and no longer gives me culture shock. I feel at home.

I had to wait until 3 pm. When I entered, I saw Joy with a straw in his mouth, no doubt stolen from some empty bottled drink. You may remember him from this story.

To my surprise, he ran to me and gave me a hug. A really long, tight hug. And then he ran away again. And he hasn’t interacted much with me since, except to steal a package of biscuits from me, but I have to say it was an incredibly rewarding welcome back. Because Joy isn’t exactly what I’d call affectionate.

The boys haven’t changed. I just sat on the floor with them crowded around me, sitting on my lap, leaning against me, and I know I’m going to have to come back and see these boys again. Again and again and again. I want to make sure they’re well.

Bernard was there. I got to sit and talk with him. He’s in school now. His hair is longer and curlier. He didn’t say “book” or “Kalli” like I thought he would, but he makes a motion of writing to show he wants to study with me.

It’s just a few short weeks I’ll get to spend with them, but this time I will be able to confidently say to them, “I’ll come back.”

Because I know by now that I think about them too often not to.

Kalli Hiller

Article by Kalli Hiller

Kalli Hiller is a voluntary vagabond who, with her husband Jacob, has traveled full time for the last eight years.

Kalli has written 365 awesome articles for us.

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