A boy was roaming around in Sevagram Ashram. Vijya saw him and asked his whereabouts. The boy said, ‘My name is Somo. I have lived in Sabarmati ashram earlier. Now I want to stay here in this ashram.’
Vijya took him to Bapu. Bapu recognised him. He was a Harijan boy. Bapu told
Vijya to let him stay at the Ashram, and instructed her to give him some work
and to look after him.
Somo had come from the Faizpur Congress session directly, having absolutely
nothing with him. He was merely wearing a half Pant and Bandi (jacket): that’s
all he had. Vijya arranged for his meal and one carpet to sleep. Mother Kasturba
provided a blanket for a cover.
It was Sunday. Bapu would observe silence from Sunday night till the evening of
Monday. At night, before going to bed, Bapu gestured with his hand indicating
height of a small boy and thus asked the details of Somo. He shook his head,
moved his eyes, and through bodily gestures wanted to know how he was. Vijya
detailed Bapu with all the arrangements. She tried to convince Bapu about his
well being. But Bapu put her hand on her shoulder and suggested, “let us go
there”. He would not be satisfied otherwise! He had to verify for himself the
comfort of the little child, so he would personally go and check. They went and
saw that Somo was peacefully sleeping in the Verandah, comfortably covering
himself. Bapu took Vijya inside the room and stood near a bundle hanging on the
wall. He then instructed her to take it and open the same, again through his
gesture. Then he sat down and started searching for something. The bundle
contained old and used loin-clothes of Bapu. He took a heap of folded clothes
and got up. Then he went to Verandah and removed the cover from his face. Somo
was fast asleep. Bapu lifted his head, placed a pillow of folded clothes below
the head of the child, covered him again properly and then he went to sleep.
Somo was fast asleep. He was under the care and comfort of the Mahatma, who had
showered his affection in the form of the pillow.