Orphanages

Somdatta’s Lane

(A Short Story)

August 31, 2019

I stood at the door to the massive, yet dilapidated hall. Hundreds of children ran about in front of me, but I couldn’t move. I was frozen still. Past, present, future.  They clouded my mind as I saw them running. Despite the smile on their faces, there was no mistaking the sadness their hearts could not help but hold.

This orphanage was their home, and here I was, trying to take it from them.

Demolishing the orphanage would bring cheap space for the new branch, which could effectively result in massive gains in revenue for the company. Moreover, it would increase the company’s credit by a huge margin. For our business, that mattered a lot. The fact that we had to snatch homes from innocent people for those credits, however, did not.

Demolishing it would also mean snatching away these innocent children’s home, along with the smile from their faces.

As I inadvertently stepped into the hall, hundreds of pairs of eyes fell on me. There was a momentary stillness before the children ran towards me, crowding around me. Their small faces stared up at me. My mind faltered for a moment. Where would they go?

Unable to stay there any longer, I began to back out of the room, my heart beating fast.

On my way out, I bumped into the owner of the orphanage – the woman with whom I had spoken to about taking down the building. Her face looked tired and sad. Somewhere within me, my guilty conscious screamed. 

In an instant, she fell on her knees before me, holding her hands together, her expression pleading. “Please, please have pity on them,” she said. 

But how could I? We needed the space for the new branch, and this was a matter of leaving our mark. Leaving a mark on this world, on our company, on our future…

And yet, even with that knowledge, those children’s faces could not leave my mind.

I couldn’t demolish the orphanage. I couldn’t snatch the innocence from their faces. I couldn’t take away their one and only home. I couldn’t destroy their world.

This would be my own way of leaving a mark, then. 

My business could change my world, but that in no way compared to the amount of change their smiles would.


Leave a Mark on the World


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