It was the 3rd of January and I was doubly
excited. I was enjoying my winter vacation and
was going with family for a picnic
to the Botanical Gardens. Everyone
including myself seemed to be in a hurry! My
mother was busy packing the hamper; my father
was making all arrangements so that we reach the
picnic spot in the most comfortable manner;
while I was packing all the games that I could
think of to play once we reached the place.
We started our journey early to reach the Gardens as soon as possible. I was feeling great and on the way my mother fed us some real good snacks. We reached the Botanical Gardens within an hour and a half. The scenic beauty was magnificent and everything seemed picture perfect. Soon we found a nice comfortable spot near the age old historical Banyan Tree and settled down. It was a bright sunny day with the chill of winter - a perfect day for a picnic.
I started to play football with my father. Suddenly he kicked the ball quite hard and I had to run and get it from a distance. It landed next to the Banyan Tree. I was amazed looking at the tree. It was so huge with very thick and long roots falling from its braches to the ground. I was looking at the tree in wonder when suddenly I saw a small child in tears. He was well dressed but was crying unceasingly. I stared at him for some time and decided to ask him his name and the reason for his crying. He seemed to be very nervous and afraid.
When I tried asking him what he wanted, he silently stared at me for some time with tears rolling down his cheeks. Sensing something was wrong I immediately called out to my father. When he asked, the child said he was lost and was looking for his parents. For a while we were perplexed and were in a dilemma regarding the course of action to be taken to help the child. We knew that somehow we have to find his parents. Surely they were also searching for him.
I forgot all about the picnic and was now bent on getting the boy back to his parents. But the Botanical Gardens was a very vast place. We asked the boy if he was carrying any sort of identity card or whether he remembered any phone number or address, by which we could track his parents. But he was unable to give us any useful information. Perhaps he was too young! He was only four years old. My father told us that there was an enquiry office at the Botanical Gardens and we decided to go there in case the boy's parents too had come there.
On the way to the enquiry office, we asked the boy his name. He said his name was Rakesh. He told us that he came with his parents to the Botanical Gardens in a red car. We went to the enquiry office; but nobody seemed to have come yet. The officer-on-duty sent a guard with us to the car parking zone to check all the red cars. Perhaps we could locate his parents there! Rakesh only remembered the colour of the car but not the model or the license number. We reached the car park and there were four red cars. When we asked Rakesh to identify his car, he seemed confused.
We were losing hope by now! Four hours had passed by and still there was no trace of his parents. Suddenly Rakesh pointed out to a car at a distance and we went towards it. It was a red coloured Maruti Swift. He recognized his cricket bat kept inside it. There was a doctor's sign on the car. Thus we came to know that his parents were doctors. The guard noted down the model and registration number. While we were noting down necessary details, the guard received a phone call on his mobile. He told us that the parents of the boy were at the enquiry office.
We rushed back to the enquiry office. As soon as we reached there was a sigh of relief on all our faces. Rakesh was overjoyed and so were his parents. The tears had disappeared and we were so happy for him. His parents were very thankful to us and expressed their heartfelt gratitude. The officers at Botanical Gardens also praised and thanked us for the way we helped in getting Rakesh back to his parents. From then on Rakesh's family has become our great friends. Today when I recall the 3rd of January, I think it was more of an adventure than a Picnic.