Saturday, July 28, 2007

What about these guys...

If you have ever lived in an apartment complex you must have seen little 10 yr olds who work as servant boys.Many of them are actually bought from their masters' native towns.They get food,boarding and a little something to send home.It must be so sad to grow up in a house that has everything but you are denied everything.While the master's son comes home from school and sits in front of the idiot box till evening he has to run around doing chores.Of course,there are considerate masters too,but you don't hear about them.You hear about the little girl who was tortured for asking for her salary which was denied to her for 6 months.
I remember when i lived at Nirman apartments there was this servant boy who was from Andhra.His masters were newly shifted to the city and their children didn't come down to play.Well sometimes this kid,lets call him venkat cause i forgot his name,would watch us whizzing by on our cycles or playing cricket and you could see that he wanted to sometimes he would sneak out and come stand nearby,sometimes we would let him play.the thing was he was dark and didn't speak Hindi well,so sometimes he would get into fight.You know children are never considerate about feelings.There was regular taunting of "Kallu,kallu"...he once got into a ferocious fight with my brother.Now my brother himself is a wild one.A stubborn,unruly horse if you will.Something happened, i don't remember well and suddenly they were on each other,fists and nails and all.We had to literally pull them apart, and you couldn't make my brother understand that venkat was different,he didn't speak Hindi, that he means well.And venkat himself ,always felt violated.and no one stood by him after the fight.All of us 7 guys on one side and him on the other.that was so sad.How much alone can you make a child feel.All he needs is peer approval, and when all of us stood against him he should have been close to tears.He wasn't.He was furious at all of us.He looked at us with eyes that bellowed anger and said "You well off kids would never understand".Only Shreeram, an older kid who bowled really well but rarely played with us( he was always studying) and who was from Andhra himself came to him and put his arm around him and lead him away.I could see him comforting him and Venkat complaining about the other kids.I sympathized with him.I really did.And at least in this story I was a mere spectator,not a villain.Venkat did come out to play at other times.he played with other groups and sometimes with us(kids bury hatchets quicker than you think)but you knew that this kid was being emotionally violated.I sometimes wondered if this were happening to my brother,would I stand for it?How bad would I feel.There is nothing more insulting to a kid than the taunts of his peer.He went back to Andhra after a couple of years.And thats the last I saw of him.
Now ,I live at pandara road Apts and a couple of houses away from mine, there is a north east family(chinki...for the less suave)They have two teenagers and one servant boy of around 13.He has been given his own barsaathi on the roof.He gets up early morning to clean their hyundai Getz and by the time the master's daughter leaves for CJM, he has wrung the washcloth,and is done with the cleaning.Let the morning chores begin!!Once i was standing in my backyard with my mother and brother.I was in an argument about something with my brother,when my mother said something that made us all laugh out loud.This guy was there on his barsaathi,watching us, and he was smiling.He couldn't understand our joke.But he understood the emotion.Back home he too had shared laughs with his sister and mother.Been a long time ,but.
I wish at least the kids of Venkat and this chinki guy,have a normal childhood..

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