I was caught completely off guard. Staring into the viewfinder while balancing another camera across my shoulder, I snapped several photos of my friend atop the crumbling fortress in Mandu, Madhya Pradesh. As I was doing this, my friend jokingly yelled something which my brain happened to interpret as, “She’s gonna shoot you!” Before I could separate my right eye from the viewfinder, I replayed the light footsteps I failed to acknowledge seconds before as well as the playful laughter that I had simply tuned out.
Standing before me was a little girl with scruffy hair, dusty clothes, a homemade bow, and a glowing smile. She was pointing her flimsy bow, along with her twiggy arrow, directly at me. Once she realized she had my attention, she scampered about ten feet past me and launched her flimsy little arrow into the air. A friend of hers came running up the stairs at this point, and what struck me wasn’t an arrow, but that no matter where you go, children will be children.
Back home the rain has begun to fall, and when I close my eyes in the silence, the rhythm of it reminds me of the footsteps, the laughter, and those little arrows hitting the sandstone. Whoever you are, thank you.