There are numerous such kids but they have almost the same story. Here, I try to bring into limelight stories of two such kids whose fate has taken them away from home, in pursuit of a little money and better fooding; however at expense of education. Two such kids that I have recently met are Shere and Azhmed Ali.I could have had their photos here, however a lack of proper camera phone is really taking a toll on my blogging. Although, I am trying to stick with my current set until the end of my engineering degree.
Shere: Shere is a delightful and humble kind of kid working at a restaurant near Kathmandu University. He must be of 10 years of age. He possess a beautiful smile and that coupled with innocence of tender age results into direct affinity from the customers, which the restaurant in itself seem to benefit from. His family lives at Koshipari, a rural setting in the hills of Dolakha, East from Kathmandu. Dolakha is where my forefathers have settled for generations. We have close relatives and some property there. So, I find myself attached to people from Dolakha.
|These two might just represent the kids.|
Just before the Dashain vacation, as the number of customer withered away I got an opportunity to interact with him. He came to Kathmandu by himself with the cook of the restaurant- who is much older than him but he had somehow done schooling till the 6th grade. I wanted to make him return to the village, and begin to go back to school. He seem to shyly oblige. I along with the cook gave him some simple logic. Even if he had to do away with daily diet of meat and rice (that is a much better supplement in both taste and nutrition compared to what he gets back at home), he could make it up in his adulthood owing to better education. I reminded him, even to work in better paying restaurants of Kathmandu, education was essential since he needed to note down and read orders, calculate prices etc.
He might have got his lesson, in the tiny stint he had working away from home. He must have missed his parents and friends of his age. Now when he goes back home, he shall be a star among his friends and a nuisance among his parents and teachers. His wonderful stories of the city, the boys in well pressed shirts and smooth denim and girls with clean hair and fitting apparels would be new story to his pals. If this experience increases his morale and that improves his confidence in being a good student, it would really turn his life on its head. I sincerely hope and pray, he doesn't return back to the same hotel, and maybe I get to see him only after years as an educated smart man doing great at whatever he takes up in future.
Azhmed Ali: I met this kid just for a day, at the occasion of Phulpati. He must be aged around 8-10 (however I have a gross ability of guessing ages). He was at Tudikhel, and began voluntarily fielding for us. He would field at fine leg, a fielding position in Cricket where the ball tends to go regularly especially if u have average playing conditions. He was a prodigy if we are concerned with his cricketing ability. He threw the ball in a technical manner, fielded in bumpy outfield putting his body behind every ball and diving (not in the air however) to gather balls away from him. He just got to bat a few deliveries at the end, which is a very obvious however painful of a story of any young cricketer playing with adults. However, he swung the bat which was relatively heavy for a kid of his age, above his head to connect bouncing balls and still managed to connect them to get them away up to conventional mid on position, that's like 40 yards away from his batting position.
As we returned, I asked him in which class he studied. He said, he did not go to school. That made me slightly angry. I don't know why but I felt angry for our country which would trade cheap labour out of these kids at a young age , and later make them a comrade of their stupid politics and desert their agenda after getting to power. He was from Janakpur. Regarding Janakpur, it has a strong connection with me. My mom was raised up in Janakpur. I was born in a hospital of Janakpur, and we constantly visited our great grandmother who resided in Janakpur until she passed away due to old age. We used to call her ghuyya aama ( as we had to travel in bus to reach her).I still adore visiting temples around Janakpur.
This poor kid, has his father working at one of the Gulf countries. His mother lives back in Janakpur. He was left by his dad to work at a Saree embroidery shop near Maitidevi. As Maitidevi is in my route back home, I offered him a ride in the Safa tempo. He had a monthly salary of Rs 3000 ( roughly US dollars 40). Surprisingly, he had a brother who studied back home. As we boarded the tempo, I showed him "Maitidevi" written in the rear side of the tempo. I told him if he had studied he would have understood it. As he seemed so interested in cricket, I persuaded him in another way. I asked him if he watched cricket in TV. He answered positive. I asked him if he understood scores written in TV. He said no. Perhaps, that moment he must have realized education was required even to be a cricketer. At least I pointed that out for him, and suggested he could enjoy the game even more back home at Janakpur.
I told him the same as that to Shere. Go back home and enroll in a school. Don't run away even if the teachers punished him. He promised me he would go home back after a month. I myself got off at Maitidevi, as it was Dashain time and I needed to fulfill my mother's desire of visiting temples. His teeth was all brown. I bought him a brush and asked him to brush regularly. He seemingly obliged. He promised to return back home in a month. I said I was a local of Maitidevi and gently threatened him that it would not go down well with me if I was to see him again after a month. And out of nowhere, he brought up his hand to make a hand shake. I was surprised. A kid who was fumbling with words just an hour ago, now was confident enough to shake hands. I hope he thought of going back home, studying well and pursuing his dream to be a cricketer. I hope he would do good and luck would see him shake hands with the current rising stars of Nepal like Prithu Baskota and Chandra Saud who would be his seniors if he ever made it to the National team.
I will try to remember these two kids for ever. And, if they made a name for themselves, I would selfishly draw myself some credit. Maybe, it was small time and money for me, but their experience with me might change their entire lives. Studying amateur palmistry, it occurred to me that smallest of the lines might have biggest of the impacts in a person's life. I just can hope that their encounter with me can change their life. May Durga Mata bless them both this Dashain.