story

Orphaned Self-respect

poor boy in jhopdi

Uncle, how much flour will get in ten rupees?

It will be less than half KG.

Give me, as much as quantity in ten rupees.

How will you survive like this? Why don’t you try anything else?

How I do? I have tried every thing? I do not have any skill and tried to find work in many places but due to fear of the police, nobody gives any chores. They said that you are minor to do any work. Uncle, why can’t I do any job under the age of fourteen?

Son, this is the law of the country. But life won’t just pass like this. Many children are having a better living than you by begging.

Yes, I know. I find this work disrespectful. What will my deceased parents think about my self-respect ?

As you wish, It hurts to see your carving and problems.

     Today, after two days, Sanju was going to get his hard-earned bread. It may not have been enough to satisfy Sanju’s hunger but he was glad that it is his rigorous bread. For this, he had not spread his hands to anyone. After all, what was his age? only fourteen years. The age when children used to be seen in playgrounds, gardens, but Sanju’s entire life was reduced from one side to other of the bridge, at the railway station.

              It was about 5 years ago. There was an old railway station in the center of the city which was no longer in use. There was a foot over bridge at the same station, which was now made for normal pedestrian traffic. So that people from the old city can come to the new city. Many cyclists passed through this bridge. They used to take the help of other people to get their bicycles across the other side of the bridge, in return for which they used to give one rupee as wages. Sanju worked to carry the bicycle across the bridge for a long time. At the same time, his partner, Dhiru used to polish shoes at the station. Sanju also used to think that if a few rupees are collected with him, he will too start the work of shoe polish. There were also some rivals in this work of Sanju, of which Shibu was of very bad temperament, who often feuded with Sanju for no reason.

             Sanju along with Dhiru left his house for his work. Just a short distance away, he had come and see that two small children were going to school. He remembered an incident from three years ago. When one day morning, he was getting ready to go to school. After getting ready, he told his baba – Baba no child goes to school in this habitation, but why do you send me to school?

Baba – Sanju, Do you want to live in this place lifetime? All our age is spent in this dirt, you think of getting out of this mess.

Then Dhiru shouted – Sanju, Where did you stop?

Sanju looked at Dhiru and said- Nothing, I am coming.

              After a while, Sanju stopped near the same foot over bridge and Dhiru left towards the platform. Sanju had just reached there that Shibu also came with his two companions. Everyone started waiting for customers. Shortly after, an elderly man arrived and looked around to get his bicycle across. Sanju and a friend of Shibu reached to him.

The elder said – how much will you charge to get across it?

Shibu’s friend said- It will take two rupees.

Elderly – two rupees, Everyone takes one rupee, you will take two rupees.

Sanju – I will take one rupee.

On hearing this, Shibu came there – who asked you? Why did you say when my guy is here?

Before Sanju could speak anything, Shibu pushed Sanju hard and Sanju collided with the railing and fell. Due to which Sanju’s leg was hurt and he came back home limping from there.

             Ever since he saw children going to school this morning, he did not feel like doing anything. He was remembering all the events of two years ago continuously. Two years ago, he was possessed by his mother and father and he also had a younger sister. He remembered when his younger sister was born. Everyone was happy and he was also happy that now someone in the house is younger than him. Used to play with him, Used to take care of him. He used to celebrate all the festivals with great enthusiasm along with his sister. But a few days ago, his palm was deserted on the festival of Rakshabandhan. How sometimes his Baba used to take him and his sister on a cart on the trunk to roam. Whenever he used to go around with his Baba, Baba used to buy him Kulfi in front of the park. Family love, festivals, sight-seeing, childhood everything was lost somewhere. All this was now only pleasant memories.

orphaned boy

            There used to be another old bridge 500 meters from this railway bridge. There used to be about 10 families under the same bridge, who used to live with their household families with daily income. It was August 14 and it rained heavily that night. In the morning, Sanju got ready and went to his school independence day program. Where the whole country was celebrating Independence Day, At the same time, that old bridge also became independent today after serving for 30 years. When Sanju returned, there was nothing left but debris. Even after losing everything in this tragic incident, Sanju finds nothing but just momentary assurance and today there was no one to help him. Today he realized why his father wanted to send him to school.

          Today, Sanju just laid down and remembered his old days. When Dhiru came in the evening, he already knew about the incident. He explained to Sanju that he was away from Shibu. Dhiru laid down after eating food, but today, Sanju was not sleeping in his eyes. Once again lost in old thoughts. After being orphaned the biggest problem was where will he live now. He spent two days with starving at the railway station. On the third day, Dhiru noticed at Sanju. After listening to Sanju’s story, Dhiru told Sanju that I have a closet at a little distance. You can live with me, but you will have to arrange your own food. From that day Dhiru and Sanju were living together.

         Now Sanju had to earn his own food, but Sanju had no capital nor experience to work. Sanju kept roaming at the station for a long time. He noticed that some children were then filled with water in the water bottles thrown by the passengers and were selling them to the passengers. He too arranged a few bottles and agreed to sell them filled water but he could not sell a single bottle all day due to lack of experience. There was no one to hear his soft voice in the harsh voices of those rivals.

         The next day, Sanju thought that he would have to do some other work. Sanju thought of secretly working as a porter. He did not know that tokens are also needed to work as a porter, but today his helplessness was his token. He saw a family getting off the train. Sanju reached him as soon as he saw them.

Man- how much will it cost to deliver these three bags?

Sanju – what can I say? give ten rupees.

Man – You ask for ten rupees. Only ten steps have to go. I will offer you five rupees, take it or leave it.

OK, boss. Saying so, Sanju started taking all three bags. Three-day hunger, due to exhaustion, Sanju fell before reaching and he suffered injuries. At this time, everyone heard a slap.

Man- you rascal. Dropped all my belongings. Call the police. police, police…

       Sanju ran away from there as soon as he heard the name of the police. There was some chance that he tried to porter work but he had to face the scolding of the policemen. He thought that if some money was arranged then I can sell peanuts, cucumber, gram, samosas, etc. Due to so many problems, he was now convinced that he is not able to do any work at the railway station.

         The next morning Sanju was sitting close to the foot over bridge and was thinking about what should I do today. Just then, an old man made a voice – hey, come here. Sanju went to the old man.

Old man – Listen, If you transport my bicycle on the other side, I will give you fifty paise.

According to Sanju, he got the right job. He took the bicycle to the other side and got fifty paise. Sanju felt that I can do this work, there is no restriction in this nor any police interference. Then he decided to do this work.

     Sanju saw that it was morning. The whole night he spent in the pain of his injury and old memories. He tried to get up from the bed but realized that it is difficult for him to even walk today. Even today he stayed in his hut all day.

          The next day Sanju woke up in the morning and inspected his injury. Although his injury felt better today than before, he was still having trouble walking. Today he had to go to work in any case. Lack of good sleep in the last two days, starving and injury had made him weak. He dared and left for work in the morning. But today there were no people because it was a holiday. No customer had come yet and the sun had mid of the sky. Sanju seen a customer. He picked up his bicycle and started walking. Sanju had now come to the upper part of the bridge when he noticed Shibu and his companions coming from the front. As soon as they reached the middle of the bridge, they came face to face. At the same time, Shibu did a prank and pushed one of his companions on Sanju. Due to leg injury and physical weakness, Sanju could not handle the bicycle and bicycle started falling down the bridge. To save the bicycle, Sanju fell down on the train-tracks along with the bicycle. Everything happened such that no one could understand anything. People saw that there was no movement in Sanju’s body. The bicycle owner, Shibu, and his companions all fled from there.

rail track

         That bridge was very peaceful that day. After that day, anyone never saw Sanju, Shibu, or Dhiru again on that bridge. The next day a column appeared prominently on the local page of a reputed newspaper. Whose heading was-

“Bicycle busting gangs stealing in broad daylight in the city.”

          A gang of thieves has been detected who stole bicycles daily. The main leader of the gang whose age is some around 14-15 years and his name is unknown. According to the local witnesses, the main accused was stealing a bicycle and when caught red-handed, he jumped from the bridge. His other companions fled who are being searched. The deceased has not been identified. Today, newspaper sales were reaching high. 

2 thoughts on “Orphaned Self-respect

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    to drive the message home a little bit, however other than that, that is wonderful blog.
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