A flash of movement just outside the gate caught Raj’s eye. He tried to focus but could not see what it was. It moved again, rapidly darting and sending a spray of sand in a semi circle behind it. A lizard. Raj’s mouth turned into a toothy smile, and a small giggle exposed itself to the world. His mother, upon hearing the sound arched her neck away from the goat she was milking. Watching what her son would do next. “Raj, behave yourself, it’s just a lizard, it will do you no harm”
“But Maa!” he started, jumping to face her in an overzealous show of excitement “I just want to see what it does.”
“Ok, but be careful.” Her warm tone indicated her inability to resist her son’s cheeky grin.
The lizard darted forward again, this time heading for a small bush a few meters to its right. Raj made an advance towards its position, crouched and on tiptoes. His eyes were fixated on its ash grey tail, trying to anticipate its next movement. He edged closer still, the heat from the sun beating heavily on his arms and legs. He was only a few meters away now, and could see its rotating yellow eye. He lowered himself closer to the floor, trying to examine the creature from a better angle. Before he could make any further movement, the lizard made a dart for the safety of the bush. Raj let out a sigh, and stomped his foot hard against the sand. He turned back to face his mother.
“It got away mum, it was really fast, I couldn’t get close enough” his voice was full of disappointment.
“It’s ok dear, there will be plenty more. Why don’t you come see if you can help me with this goat, its time you learned, and I think your little hands will come in useful here” She replied.
Raj looked down at the pale palms of his hands, opening and closing them a few times, as if checking they still worked. He never thought of his hands as small, but he supposed in comparison they were. Moving towards where his mother sat on her stool, he noticed a bit of the floor had cracked, needing repair before it got worse. He would do that later.
“Come here dear” his mother said as she lifted him off the ground and placed him gently onto her bony knee. “The key Raj, is to be gentle. Remember the goat can feel what you’re doing, so if you hurt her, she will try and run, and we don’t want that do we? So if you place finger here…” as she spoke she guided Raj’s forefinger to the top of one of the goats teats. “…And then your thumb here” she said placing his thumb lightly gripping the other side. “Then gently, move your hand downwards” she guided his hand in a downwards motion. As his hand reached the tip, a drop of milk splashed into the silver can. “That’s right, very good Raj. Now you try on your own.” she released his hand, and allowed him to make his own downward tug. It was successful. Before long Raj had filling the can.