I stare through the metal gate. I see people walking, running, jogging. Every feet is wrapped in shoes. I lowered my head to look at my foot. They have worn out, due to over walking and running without any foot cover. My foot hurts all day. I heard a woman’s voice,”What are you doing there, come here you girl. Go and burn the glass pieces”. I ran to continue my work. I work in a very very dark place. I couldn’t even see the face of the person next to me. In front of me would be large furnace, where I would take the glass pieces and melt them. Once, they get melted, I would bring them to circle shape, with hollow space in between. This is how, I make bangles. I work here, from morning 6am to night 8pm. I rarely, get a chance to watch the sun. Sometimes, I would be freely left with no work, due to the delay in delivery of glass. At those times, I would try to peep though the window. The bright rays would burn my eyes. I won’t be able to look at the sun at all. My eye has got used to darkness.
“Reshma, where’s your mother?” I enquired my friend. “ She’s ill, so she won’t come to work, hereafter,” came the sad reply for Reshma. Many of my friends Parents have stopped coming here, due to some illness. The illness lies to be mystery among us. Many of the children are between 7 to 15 yrs. I and Reshma are the youngest, worker here. We both help each other. At night, Reshma would leave with her father. But, I would be left alone. I don’t have anyone for me. I would run to the shop and would buy a bun and a glass of milk. That’s my daily dinner. I sleep in streets. At night, I would hear barking of dogs. This frightens me a lot. I need a safe place to sleep. So, I jump into the trash-bins. I sleep there peacefully, that’s my home. I have a home with no roof. I sleep there hugging and watching the dark sky. Stars and the moon are my parents.
Every night, I talk to them. When, words escape my heart, tears approach my eyes. I and my sky, we are one family. My days went on in same way. I work , work and work. At my age of 15, my eye became unclear. This resulted in firing me out of my job. I’m left jobless, and visionless. Now, my feet have more jobs to do. It must take me, in search of job. It has to bear all the thorns, stones, heat to feed me. At a point, I was so tired, I fell unconscious in a street. I was left in the same state, for hours. My eye lids slowly opened, and saw some boys making sound. I stood up and noticed some small boys, picking the trash. I approached them , and begged them for job. They, accepted my request and gave me garbage picking job. I did it till the age of 18. After, which I was once again fired, with no reason. But, I have saved a money of 500Rs, in 3yrs. Successfully, I got a job in a Xerox shop. With my salary, I got enough money to rent a small house to live in. When my feet took first step into the house, it felt so cold, which soon reached my heart. This coldness, is my unsaid and unexpressed happiness. Tears rolled from my eyes, and one tear sparkled and fell on the floor. My feet took next step into my house, covering my tears.
I bought new shoes with my saving. I inserted my feet into it. My feet flew high in happiness. I got up, ran, jumped and walked everywhere in happiness. “I got shoes, I got shoes”. I want to shout it to the whole world. This was, the first day I experienced happiness in my whole 18yrs of life. I have got a over me, to shelter me, yet I won’t forget my parents, who where my roof and shelter for yeras. While coming back home, I would talk to them immensely. Every night, I sit on the terrace and would enjoy my dinner, with my parents. The next night, I couldn’t see my parents, as the sky was pouring down. There, I saw something creeping towards my door steps. My vision was unable to recognize it. But, my ears understood, it was a tiny kitten, freezing in the rain. I took the kitten and wiped it with a towel. From, that moment , kitty too became one of my family member. Everyday, we play with each other and have dinner together with our parents.
As, years passed the owner of the shop, asked me to look over the Xerox shop. For some years, I looked after the shop, then I began a new print shop, with my savings. Then, I opened many branches of my print shop everywhere . Now, I’m 30yrs old, I have a luxurious bungalow, cars, etc. Still I live alone with my kitty. Kitty has grown big, and has her own family too. But, now I’m a mother of 50 children. They are all orphans, who I have housed in my bungalow. I spend 50% of my saving on my 50 children, for their education, shelter and welfare. They have become a part my family, life and happiness.
I called out “Kids, come over here. It’s dinner time”. Everyone , ran to the terrace and sat with me in terrace. We all had dinner together along with my parents ………
I looked at my parents i.e., stars and the moon with unclear vision and said with a happy smile,”now, I woe a big family………”