Monday, October 13, 2008

Boot Polish

It was yesterday when I was heading towards Noida in a train. It was an awkward feeling returning to the Karmabhoomi after being spending a weekfull of leisure time at home with the family, friends and amidst various festivals. Nevertheless, the tension of pending projects also creeped in. So, to lessen the guilt of not studying at all at home, I tried to read a research paper to pass time which we have to study for the OS term paper.
As the time passed and more and more passengers boarded, my compartment was jam packed when the train crossed Moradabad. It is a regular scene in the Indian trains where many vendors try to sell their stuff to the passengers. That day was no exception. The packaged drinking water man, tea and coffee man, chips and biscuits wallah, chaat wallah and many others roamed about the compartment from time to time.

Then came a little boy of around 6-7 years of age. Wearing a shirt torn from n number of places and was dirty as hell, the shorts which were just managing to cover his necessary parts. It seemed his face and hair had not touched water for months. He was carrying an old, outworn bag and was desperately searching for something on the floor as he moved on. He stopped infront of an elderly gentleman and then I came to know what exactly he was looking for. He asked the gentleman to let him polish his leather shoes. The man like a true businessman inquired what he will charge for that. The boy replied Rs 5 for a pair. The man told him that he didnot have change and so the boy moved on sadly only to return after half an hour and again asked him to let him polish the shoes. The boy told him that he had earned enough to return the change in case the man gives him a bigger note. Reluctantly, the man gave him his shoes and the boy, with his full heart and skill, polished them. After a lot of effort the shoes were polished and the boy handed them to the man and asked for his money. The man, looking at one of the shoes and pointed in an offensive and abusive language that it was not polished proplerly and demanded to repolish it in order to get the money for his labour. The boy with a sad and desperate look on his face took out his brushes again and was back to work. Finally after much hassle, the man paid him his due and the sad expression changed to the feeling of satisfaction.

Now the question is, all this labour, hard work and humiliation just for Rs. 5? Is it not unfair on the part of that little boy? In the age of attending school, and gaining knowledge he was forced to work and that too in such inhumane conditions. I was really startled to observe that. We all know these incidences happen on a regular basis in India but I realized it yesterday for real. I am not able to forget that sad and hungry look on the face of that little kid. Is this what we have achieved after 61 years of Independence? Only managed to offer lives of poverty, desolation, and humiliation to our next generation. I will not be surprised if that boy grow up and become a gangster and kill people for little money, or become a terrorist and plant bombs in the dustbins, or get killed in the tender age while falling from the train while attempting to remain stuck to the door. Can anybody give me the answer?

Comments invited.


sudhir said...

Remarkable work bro !!
I personally feel this is your best post till date.. thinkin about the poor little train dwellers.. you are bang at the target in evoking the necessary emotional sentiments for their social upliftment by the so called high class privileged society of India..And should be treated with dignity and due respect.. not because they only deserve it but also because they have earned that respect owing to their ability to earn their living by hard labour and honesty in such a tender age:)

xplorator said...

Amazing Post. I had found your blog searching for Rabbi's Songs.. This was such a amazing post. It was gut wrenching , I am ashamed that even after all this all I want is the next materialistic possession in life. It is a slap on the collective conscience of our nation ( if it still exists), We ( the nation) should bring the shine in that little kid's eyes not the shoes he polished and then we can proudly claim India Shining!!

FÜHRER said...

@ sudhir, thnks for the compliment.
@ xplorator, I don't know who you are but truly I like your thoughts over the issue. I wish you again visit my blog and share your views.

Vaibhav Jain said...

One of the various reasons about the pathetic situation of India... here they will rebuke you, insult you, beat you and sometimes put you in jail because you did certain things out of the rule book.. i remember municipal corporation people beating up and destroying that gupta ji's and other thel walas.. just because they were standing there illegaly...

i say.. atleast they were sweating in the heat to earn a few bucks for their family.. so wht wrong were they doing? why doesnt the police and these morons go and do something actually to better the condition of the country? several criminals roam here and there and they will look for these innocent hard working people...

similar is the saga of these lil kids.. a 5 rupee note to them looks like a treasure.. they will be insulted, humiliated and then brushed aside cruely.. and they still won't retaliate coz they were blessed with that 5 rupee note... such is the condition of india... where even the hard word doesnt pay if that work is menial... mentality has to be changed..

kya kar sakte hain jab log hi ese ho gaye hain to.. cant just blame the government.. we oursleves have to change this