I was sitting by the red building and lush green lawns in my college mugging up for my exam that I was to give in another 20 mins. A boy of about 10 yrs, a rag picker went to a girl sitting a few meters away from where I was…I had seen him in the campus last week as well picking up plastics and stuff. Today he had papers in his hand rather than his sack. He spoke to her but within seconds turned towards me. He knew I was observing him. As I saw him coming, I concentrated on the book in my hand….he stopped by me….put forward his sheets to me. These were plain A4 sheets, one side used….I look at him….he says “ didi is par mujhe drawing bana do.”
my first thought was to refuse … I had my exam in 20 mins and quite some stuff to revise…
I took the sheets from him n asked “ kya bana du?”
“Bike bana do…”
“bike banana toh mujhe nahi aati..kuch aur batao”
he thinks, then says “mere pas pen bhi nahi hai..”
In the mean time the guard comes to shoo him off. And starts shouting at him…he lowers his eyes and gets up to go…leaving his sheets… I give the sheets back and the pen that I had in my hand.
He says thank you and goes away. So does the guard.
My eyes were moist..i was blank…numb...i didn’t even ask him his name. all through his face had the same dourly expression..…Why didn’t I stop the guard from shouting at him?
It was a stark reality early in the morning..I am preparing to go to give my post graduate degree exam and there is a child who comes to me collecting used papers from some where to make him a drawing…this boy who should be studying in a school does not even possess a pen.
Why this difference in society? Why this difference in life? Is this life for him?
I close my book and head for the examination hall.
Will I meet him again? What will I do?