Today, I was sitting at our shop when a young boy came in, hesitant of his surroundings, yet confident of his bearings. The way he entered the glass door was almost comical, but I couldn’t find anything remotely amusing when he began to talk. Though his tale wasn’t the bravest or the cruelest that I have ever heard, but it was definitely the most moving because I could see the differences we had despite similar age.
He told of his mother’s passing away when he was eight, his father leaving him alone with his younger brother and sister in the village. The father came to the city, to earn a better livelihood and start a new life, never bothering about how his kids fared in the world. The kid’s maternal grand parents took care of him, even helped him marry off his sister. According to him he has never really spent a paisa earned by his father, everything was either his mother’s or her parent’s. He is seventeen now, pulling rickshaws in town came in to ask for work. Was unhappy with how pulling rickshaws in the extreme heat of the city had affected him. His body had gone all tanned, his young limbs already devoid of the youthful vigor they once had. They get kids his age married back in his village. But he holds no such dreams, wants to save enough cash before thinking about such things. He said that he would do anything to get out of his current job. Sweeping and being a waiter wouldn’t bother him either.
Hearing him speak , it wasn’t the ramblings of a seventeen year old kid crying about injustice in the world. They were the words of a seventeen year old man, wizened by the miseries of life. He has learnt so much from life in so short a time which many of us feel hard to comprehend even in our mature years. Hearing him speak beyond his years put me in a contemplative mood. To think what all life can teach you-when it wants to-at such short notice. I look at myself and my friends …and then I look at him and I realize how long a journey we still have to make reach up to his level, to be able to face the world with a brave face.