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Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Pray for me brother

He was four; his hands scratched and scarred owing to the 6:00 am to 9:00 pm tiring job of making glass bangles; his eyes had lost all hope; hope to be free, hope to be educated like other children going to school, whom he watched on the streets every day, hope to just be loved, cared and caressed! He had lost his childhood, his innocence.....
There’s a saying “All things grow with time- except grief”!.. He worked, he worked and he worked! Away from his home, away from his family, away from his sense of belongingness and security; his life pretty much had lost all its meaning. Days and years passed. The boy grew to be six. He hadn’t seen or heard from his folks in all these years, he didn’t understand anything about monetary aspects, about why he was doing something which he didn’t want to.  Years of being treated like a machine and being a subject to hostility had taught him a lesson- The lesson of being indifferent... He didn’t care!
For few who still hoped for hope and had faith that they will be rescued, their belief paid off. A human rights NGO team conducted a rescue operation for these children below 7 and was all set to unite them with their families. Our six year old boy was still showcasing his expressionless face. But this time it was different! This time it was because he was flabbergasted! He experienced this sudden chill that he now will be able to lead his own life, go to school like other boys do, be someone, and be loved by his mother who might be waiting for him eagerly.
As he walked through narrow quaggy chawl lanes accompanied by a NGO worker, he was elicited by nostalgia. Not that he could recollect much, as he was taken away when he was 3, but he did remember- he remembered  playing with his two younger brothers, he remembered how his mother used to sing to him and how his father used to take him for a “shoulder ride”. It’s said ‘Change is the law of life’ but nothing had changed in the slums; everything was the same- the same sight of thousands of huts flocked together in claustrophobic juxtaposition, the everlasting poverty, girls of six acting mom to their younger brothers, the same consensus and sharing between animals and humans of living circumstances and sometimes food.
His home- a straw hut devoid of windows and doors was now visible to him. He walked, his steps getting slower and slower and finally taking a halt. He was extremely enthralled by picturing how will everyone react; the NGO hadn’t had any source to reach them, so this was completely going to be a surprise for them.. Hope a pleasant one though! The worker’s patting on the back helped! The boy again took off staring at the ground, filled with emotions of excitement and happiness. They reached the hut. Old green rag curtains at the entrance were down. The worker called out loud for someone in the house. No response. He called out again.. ; the curtains slid aside, it was his mother. 
His heart skipped a beat, his face still staring the ground, trying to have a quick side glance of her, his hands tightly gripping the worker’s fingers; Years of separation had fogged the mother’s picture. She stood stunned outside the house, the worker said, “This is your boy. NGO has brought him back”. The staring continued for a few minutes, the female stood dumbstruck. The long silence was broken by the mother who started sobbing out loud. The boy looked up and saw his mother. He saw her sobbing; he wanted her to hug him, to caress him, to love him. He was waiting. He saw, there- she was about to say something- may be “Come to me my son”.
She said- “Why the hell are you back? Who will now earn for us? Just take him back please...”.
He stood there with his expressionless face. ........
He is six, his hands scratched and scarred owing to tiring 6:00 am to 9:00 pm job of making glass bangles. He has lost all hope, the hope to be free, the hope to be home and the hope to be able to study and live his childhood, he has lost his innocence .... He works, he works and he works.....

1 comment:

  1. Stranger in a strange land, innocence remains but a glint in the eye! well written :)