I see him nearly every day, at the tea stall collecting and cleaning all the used tea glasses, giggling with his acquaintances or going about calmly and seriously with his work. Appears to be all of 10 or 12 years, lean frame, not so maintained face and lost eyes. A sense of helpless feeling grips me whenever I see that kid. So does it happen whenever I see a child working, for I always believed it is not the right age for them to work irrespective of what the situation is, depriving them of basic education is something I always helplessly despised.
But the other day something else pricked me. As usual, I was relaxing and having my tea and there were a couple of kids playing with a cricket ball. This Kid was going about his usual chores and suddenly signalled to the two kids to throw him the ball waited for a fraction of a second and then went back to his daily chores. The enthusiasm on his face when he asked for the ball and that expressionless face after a few moments pricked me deeply. I was looking at this kid and do not exactly know if those two kids denied or ignored his request or that he himself remembered his work and suppressed his little urge to catch the ball, but that moment etched in my memory and really makes me restless.
What really hurt me was that apart from the fact that this kid is already deprived of Eduction, he is being deprived of something more basic and more important, His Childhood. It is really not the age that you suppress your urge to play since you have the work on hand. I do not know whom to blame, the Tea stall owner, his parents, my helplessness or the system as a whole. But what I do know is it is not right. The fact that this kid is just a specimen representation of a much larger population makes me restless. ” Today’s Children are Tomorrow’s Citizens” was a maxim that I heard from my dad while growing up, if this is the case the future looks bleak.
Unfortunately, I really am unable to do anything except to vent my frustration so do I believe are many others who are moved by this but are caught in their own vicious Life cycle. The solution is a complex one, as there are many factors that contribute to such situations and each story is diverse.
p.c : https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:India_-Varanasi_kid,_smoke,_fan-_0211.jpg