Sunday, August 18, 2013

The dark of the night


At the stroke of midnight, when Mumbai is in deep sleep, I took my dazzling red purse and headed towards the railway station. I put on my pink gloss, colossal kajal and strokes of pink blush on my face. Just as I was about to leave, I noticed the heel of my red sandal in two parts. Ghosh..!!! It must be Chintu’s work. But now instead of weeping or crying out, I decided to walk bare foot.

First, I went to the temple around the corner of street and folded my hands to pray to God. I ask him to shower me so  that at least I get good deals tonight. It has been three days and I haven’t found a single customer despite my several attempts. Today, I have decided not to come back without money or else Chintu and I have to starve from tomorrow. Chintu is my 4 year old son. He is the only reason for my smile and life.

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 My drunkard dad and my step mother worked as daily wagers in a construction company. I have one younger brother, 2 step brothers and one step sister. As we grew up, things became worse financially. This is when my step mother’s true colours came out. She made me do all the work and inturn complained to my dad about petty things. One fine day, she advised my dad to send me to work in a city so that they can lead a comfortable life with the money I earn. It was me of all the kids because she has extreme hatred towards me as I back answered and wasn't ready to take the blame on me and apparently, I am the one on whom she has to spend thousands of rupees for wedding.

She convinced my dad and sold me to a business man in Pune. Although the family me work all the day, proper food and clothes were given. Their twenty year old son whom I called Bhaiyya (brother) was the only friend in the house. He bought me chocolates and cookies. My memories back home never faded away. There was not a single day passed without waiting for someone from my family to come and take me back.

One  day when everyone was out, I was in kitchen cleaning utensils. I felt warmth around my belly. Two hands passed around my belly to breasts. I was shaken and looked back. It was BHAIYYA..!! I tried to get rid of his hands but I couldn't.  And it was done..!! It was repeated for several times in few months, when madam was out for beauty parlour, parties, and gatherings. He always made excuses to stay at home until one day I ran from the house bluffing them. I couldn't express my grief tell anyone as I knew no one would believe me.

I sat at bus stop, slept in railway station and ate leftovers on roadside. In Pune railway station, a lady smiled at me and offered me few biscuits. I was so hungry that I could not deny the offer. she took me to her home, made me comfortable. Sarita didi brought me to Mumbai. She pushed me into this work, threatened me when denied. She is befriended many big shots, police and Mafia. There are around 32 young girls like me, who were thrown here willingly and unwillingly.


My life was no less than hell initially,  until I got used to it. This has become my livelihood. It is Chintu’s birth which has brought back hope and desire to live. I wanted to send him to English school and wished to see him working in the huge glass building. So, I am striving to do all I could. 

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It was 3.30 am and I thought to return back having made enough money to meet my needs for next four days. While returning back, in the corner of the old Chowrasta road, I saw a little girl trying to hide herself behind the tree. It was dark and I couldn't see her face. She was shivering and startled to move. I took her hand in mine, smiled at her and kissed her. I asked “Why are you alone in the midnight? and where is your family?  She  didn't respond at first. But slowly replied  “I ran from the house where I am working”.

I could see my story in her eyes, I could see my tears in hers, I could see my mourn in hers.

I was baffled as to what to do with the little girl, whether to take her with me or leave her to her fate. I heard a voice then “ Sandhya..do what your heart says”. It was my soul speaking from deep.

I decided to give Chintu a sibling. He always has too many questions about his Baba, and family. I never had an answer as I have no clue who could be Chintu's Father.

Coincidentally tomorrow is Rakhi..!!!.

When the city is in deep sleep, I am awake watching the dark of the night.



This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda







Saturday, August 3, 2013

Two Sides of a Coin

I asked her one day “how can she be so selfless?". Seems she didn't understand my question or didn't want to answer, she just smiled at me and said “God bless” when I dropped few one rupee coins in her white plastic box.

I saw her daily on my way to office. She used to sit near the temple with her old dusty plastic box. Her faded cotton sari is torn thither and thither. In a busy place like Mumbai, where people ignore looking at the happenings around, I saw this 75-80 years old lady near the Ganesh temple on the busiest road in Andheri. At first instance I presumed her as any other drifter as fake as many others I see in local trains.

Every day I observed her on my way. One sunny day, I saw her with a street dog. She was feeding him biscuits and left over bread which someone has given. The next day I saw her buying Parle G biscuits with 2 rupees in her box and started feeding the 2 or 3 dogs nearby. I always saw her surrounded by street dogs, She feeding them biscuits.

My job profile lands me in meeting new people every day. One fine day, I met a customer who is into steel retail business. As all his banking transactions are through us and obviously I get to see him every other day. One day, he approached me and requested for closure of one his current accounts (Business Account). As per the process I suggested him to withdraw cash from his account and processed his request. There was 90 paise left in the account. As we cannot pay him by cash, we gave him Demand Draft (DD) for ninety paise.

On handing him DD the next day, I saw a slight disappointed look on his face. He said “Madam, why did you given me Demand Draft, Now I cannot deposit it any account as I have closed all accounts on this name”. I was shocked to hear this. I kept on listening “You should have told me this earlier, I would have transferred it into any other account or have thought of alternative option”. I took a deep breath and explained him that as per the process we are mandated to pay him all the money that he own after closing the account, be it one paise. Since it is not possible to give it cash, we have only one option of Demand draft.  My colleague jumped in to explain and tried to convince him. While leaving he said “whatever, you have wasted my money”.


ABC BANK LIMITED                                                          Payable at Mumbai

PAYEE           XYZ COMPANY LIMITED
Rupees            NINETY PAISE ONLY                          
0.90
                              
                                                                                                                                                                                                           Authorized Signatory


I was dumbstruck by his words, A person with a net worth of three crores is worried about his ninety paise??

See the contrary, a person who doesn't have home of her own, clothes to cover herself, enough food to survive is selflessly spending her petty earnings on street animals.

Two sides of a coin – self explanatory..!!