Everyday on my way to work, I see a little family staying on the roadside pavement. It consists of a Papa, Mama and 3 kids – a girl, a boy and a baby (I think thats a girl too). They have a small lean-to made from a flex poster of the Congress party and some plastic sacks.
In the morning when I walk that way, the kids are busy performing their morning ablutions around 100 m away from their home, while the Mama is busy stirring a pot over a fire, always with the baby lying across her lap.There are coconut husks and shells strewn at another corner, and it is like the whole pavement belongs to them.
The Papa is sometimes there helping with the cooking, but more often not.
In the afternoon, when I walk back after my lunch, I see the Mama washing up the same pot and the kids sleeping in the lean-to. In the evening, the family is together and the kids are playing on the pavement.
Also, the roadside dogs seem to be their friends and go begging for scraps from their meals, and the kids feed these strays – probably because both sides feel a certain kinship with each other.
But something I have noticed about the family – they NEVER beg.they are proud of themselves and live in their limited way.
And one day, while passing this family, a friend told me their story. The Papa and Mama were construction workers and had rescued the girl and boy from a begging racket somewhere in North India. After escaping from the clutches of the racket, they made Bangalore their home. But they are still hunted and have to keep shifting locations to stay safe. Now, why doesn’t someone rehabilitate them and offer them protection, is a question you may ask. But, remember they are nothing illustrious – just a pair of construction workers who took pity on the kids.
How did my friend learn this story? She didn’t – I made it up. Just the story part 🙂
Cheers! Have a great weekend.