Walking down the street in which I have been living since past several years; I saw today a little kid of around seven. Economic hardship of whole family showed up on his face. Clothes faded several shades that it was hard to find what its original color was. These all details wasn’t any new to kids like him who can be spotted in every city, in places equipped with a class of this society deprived of all luxuries. What startled me was a red bucket, which was hanging down his tender shoulder. The bucket was a small one for me but for him much heavy than he should ever try to lift full of water.
A little soul is lifting such heavy weights, why? I wondered.
I called him to come where I stood transfixed. He heard and replied instantly with a smile.
The smile on your face makes me feel guilty
I rushed towards him. He was dragging his bare feet so as to come close to me. We met each other.
I haven’t met him or seen him before, but, his smiles sent a deep flow of emotion as if I have met him before.
Yes I have met him all my life. He is who starves almost half of his nights to sleep. His education, health and future were never defined and are at clear stake. Yes I know him he is one of my brothers on my land who is devastated by the poverty and lay sunken like a ship thousands of fathoms deep in oceans.
‘What for you have called me?’ his contrasting strong voice from his weak body broke my thought.
‘Huuh…’ I mumbled. ‘What is your name?’
‘You called me to ask my name?’
Bond fan or what? It had the same texture like Bonds used to say ‘Bond…..James Bond’. Weird thought was it but, it somehow touched me.
‘Okay, why are you lifting this? It must be so heavy for you.’
‘Yes it is but, I have to do. None else would do it for my mother if I didn’t’
His eyes said something; a deep silence embraced me whenever I saw them. They were deep and black. Only thing which is most lively on his whole body I thought.
‘Are you listening?’ His voice snapped my thoughts.
‘Yeah, but can’t your mom do it? You are so young to do this.’
‘She is ill. And none else is in my house except me.’
Still his eyes were confident. But I can sense something melancholic in his statement.
‘No one? Why?’ I enquired.
‘Father died two years ago’ His face showed a worry and deep feeling of loss.
‘Sorry’ I said.
‘Its okay, can I go? Mom must be worried, I am late.’
‘Yes but you go to school?’ I hoped he must go.
Deep in my heart the question was important to me, his affirmative answer would have been a thing of both rejoice and surprise for me.
He continued ‘No, we cannot afford that. If could, we would have bought medicines and food to live better.’ Facts spill out of his smiling face.
So practical for his age.
‘I am late, bye!’ he started his heavy load dragging journey till his home.
I stood blank for next few minutes. He got slowly invisible in the early morning orange sun’s spill.
I was there for some more minutes staring the way he departed. He re-emerged. Now was bouncing with the same red plastic bucket, which is now empty. He passed by me in the same running pace which he had when he re-emerged. He smiled at me. He passed in a jiffy, but his smile didn’t leave.
What are we doing to him? And many such?
I felt a chill down my spine, was it because of him or the cold winds blowing.
We owe them a lot, something which we have abundant of and they are deprived of.
Writer, social activist, Co Founder & Vice President at Jaagar Foundation (NGO).
Loves to observe the world around him, and write about it to create a change.