He is nine, but looks about six. Quiet, but all smiles. When you first see him, he’s sitting on the stone steps outside the children’s home. The woman who rescued him says he arrived only three months ago.
He just got out of prison. His father was put there for murder. No one else wanted to take him. He had nowhere to go. And the mother? Nowhere to be found.
You ask for permission to talk to him. Go ahead, his guardian says. He’s shy, but you can try.
Amrit, you point your camera at him. Do you like it here? He jiggles his head, the way people do so often in this part of the world. You wonder if it’s a yes or a no.
The kids give him the elbow, SAY SOMETHING, they whisper. Say you like it here. He blinks. I like going to school, he says. But prison was nice. Baba was there.
And then he runs off to play. He turns cartwheels, he tries a few backflips. He laughs. And you find yourself thinking you’re really looking forward to getting to know this kid.