“No daadu, please don’t cry…”

“I am not”

“One day, everything will become all right. I promise.”

“Look at them didi, don’t we deserve like they do?”

“Our life is meant to be different than that of those kids. Look at them. They don’t live their life freely like us. They are always confined inside the walls of rules and regulations, and etiquette’s and manners. By the way, it’s late night and you need to sleep. Tomorrow again, we need to go…“

“Hmm, I know. Good night!“
I remember; the clouds had showered the tears of rain that evening. After a very rough day of labor, I was walking off the silent street in search of a dry and warm place where I could sleep for a night. From some distance, I heard a sound. It was a sound of a little baby crying. I ran with the fullest of my speed. On a cold night, it was left all alone on the lonely road. Mumbai is a city that rarely sleeps. But there are some streets which go asleep at late night. Only things which existed there, were the sad cold breezes, which tried to penetrate the purple colored silk in which the baby was wrapped and kept inside a basket, and the dimmed yellow colored lamp which shaded the streets with mild luminosity. I slowly peeped into the basket. His worthless parents had left milk, blanket, and some of the necessary things, but they had possibly forgot the most important thing; the baby needed the security of its papa and the warm love of his mummy… I had many questions in my mind. For the first time, my heart skipped beats!. I felt blessed looking at those innocent expressions. I slowly held the milk bottle in front of his mouth and a magic happened. It stopped crying. While it was drinking milk, I moved my hand on it’s chubby cheeks, little nose, forehead and it’s little fingers and I suddenly had goosebumps! The baby was so soft and adorable! I was like totally lost inside it’s beautiful black eyes. In the lonely world, a girl had got her family. A brother! I had never been so happy in my life. I named him ‘Daadu’. At a single moment, I had become a mother, a sister and a father of that cute little baby. I was only 3 years old. Facing the responsibility of new born was very challenging. Getting a job was a difficult task of me because of the Indian Law. People said that Child Labor is a serious offense. Then too, I managed somehow. Everyday, barefooted I used to collect the wrappers of chips and sachets of milk in a big black plastic sack and carry it to the factory. Whatever 60-70 rupees I got would be my earnings of 2 days. Many of shopkeepers used to abuse. Dogs would bark at me as if I was the culprit. It felt very bad. I was helpless. There was no option other than neglecting them.

Working very hard, I had to feed Daadu. Sometimes, with what I earned, and sometimes, with the left overs of the rich people. He used to see me searching food in the left overs. He felt very angry when the baker insulted me when I asked for pieces of bread. As he was growing up, he had started to witness different emotions and feelings inside him. He could not speak, but could easily differentiate between who loved him and who hated him. Many a times, it happened that we were kicked off from the place where we used to sleep. Those drunk guys would spit very bad words on us. What would a girl of age 4 would do? My little Daadu used to be very scared. He used to shiver badly. and cuddle me very tightly. It wasn’t possible resist myself looking at his condition. Then I would lift him up and take him to silent place. Whole night, it used to be difficult to sleep for both of us. Being under impression of fear, I would grab my brother close to me, rest his head on my lap and hold his hand tightly. This made him feel a bit secure. After a short time, he used to sleep. During dawn, it used to be the time of rich brats. They were our wake up alarms of 8 O’ clock! Me and Daadu used to wake up either by their noise or the stones they threw at us. I don’t know what sort of happiness did they get by disturbing us. Daadu used to observe them. He used to look at those bright white shirt tucked inside a half pant, white socks, polished black boots, a costly school bag on back, and most important; a smile on face… I am sure; somewhere inside his heart, the tombs of ‘thoughts‘ were graved in the graveyard of sadness… The thoughts which made him question, “Why aren’t we happy like them? Why can’t we ware the clothes like them? Why don’t we go to school? Why aren’t we lucky enough to live a life like them? Don’t we deserve love? ” He used to stubborn for instance. Mostly, I was successful in handling and recovering him from these sad moments. But it used to be difficult to cope with evening situations. Many a times, it happened that I completed my work early. So we had leisure time in evening. Then Daadu and I would go on the hill top and watch the sun setting. We saw little kids having the evening walk with their grandparents. I know, millions of questions arose in Daadu’s mind. These were the questions he didn’t ask. I could feel these emotions looking in his steady black eyes filled with tears… A drop of water would roll on his cheeks and linger on his lips. This was the time when I couldn’t control myself. He sobbed badly. I used to cross my hand around his shoulders and take him near me and wipe his tears off with my fingers. This time we both missed our parents. We cried and cried. I used to become very vulnerable and sensitive. But in no time, I used to understand that I need to take care of my family too. So I just had to neurtalize myself with a single positive thought that one day everything will change. We will also live a life like ‘humans‘; with respect and dignity.
It’s night. Both are lying on the hill. The little brother is sleeping aside his sister. Some thoughts are occupying their minds.

“Daadu is so sensible. He must be missing his parents. It’s good he is asleep right now. Hence forth, I will never bring him to this hill. I cannot see him in this condition. I will cross my limits of working for you brother.. I promise you Daadu, I will give you everything you deserve. Just have faith in your sister. I will never leave you alone. I will love you till the last beat of my heart…”

“Didi, I will never question you about our parents. I don’t need to know anything about them. ‘You’ are my family. I find my mother, sister, and father in you. You care about me so much. What more would I expect from my life? When you are with me, I don’t need anyone else. I love you didi… I love you!“