Recently, I shifted to a new room which has a small verandah overlooking a forest. The boundary of the forest and the building where I stay in is fenced and is visible from my verandah. Today, I saw two boys picking up plastic bottles on the forest side that people like me ever so gracefully toss out from windows and verandahs alike, without even thinking twice. Truly, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. They were young, but poverty and desperation had seasoned them hard. Even so, from the height above I could not help but notice a slight shimmering in their eyes. Maybe it was the sun, or maybe it was the kid inside them, trying to break free.
If I were to choose, I would choose the second.
They looked up, hands on their foreheads, trying to block the morning sun. They continued looking at me. I got straight to the point.
Me: What are your names? How old are you both?
“My name is Faizan,” said the taller amongst the two, “and he is Raman”, said Faizan before the other could respond.
Me: Are you both friends? I asked, smiling.
This time, Raman replied with a big grin, “No, we’re brothers.”
“Brothers? How?” I exclaimed, shocked.
“Yes, we’re orphans,” replied Raman, as he continued poking a small bottle with a stick, his face downwards.
At that instant, I was hit by a massive truck of thoughts and emotions.
We are all born equal, here to share Earth for a brief period of time, before returning to eternal slumber. Why can’t we be a little considerate towards our fellow passengers on the train of life? What will it take to make us realize this?
“Here take my bottle as well,” I flung a near perfect plastic bottle towards them.
The bottle fell at a distance and Faizan went ahead to pick it up. Rahul went towards his brother with a sack hanging by his frail little shoulders. Their faces lit up when they saw two hundred rupee notes lying innocently within the bottle.
They looked up towards me. I smiled, they returned the favor.
Image courtesy- https://www.indiablooms.com/life-details/F/2399/kolkata-s-little-rag-pickers-lose-childhood-in-dirt-streets.html