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Meeting With The Futures Of India. By Amit Singh

November 22, 2013
By

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Meeting-1

Location- somewhere at the back of Chennai central

Passing through hectic streets of Chennai with horrid noises of MTC buses and autos, silly slangy fights in front the TASMAC shops, hotels along the road with hoardings indicating outlandish names, “Samudra (sea) view palace” (though sea shores were miles away), walls with paintings of political leaders riding horses and with swords portraying them as someone not less than super heroes who descended down on the earth as saviors of mankind, food stalls making all attempts to attract customers to sell their stale idlis (a food item) and steaming sambar (a curry) and confused tourists dragging big trolleys down the potholed road in search of an affordable lodge, I landed up in a dark alley. That was the land of scrap dealers, hardly visited by any normal person. It was late and most of the shops were closed. But from a distance I saw a feeble light flickering at some corner. I ambled a little distance and saw something interesting which provoked my slow paced steps to gain some speed. I saw a lean dark complexioned man, may be in his mid forties, hammering a piece of iron plate.  Aside him, a small girl was sitting over a pile of card boards, dressed in a sky blue frock, may be her school uniform with few visible patches near her shoulder that had not been mended properly, the plaits of her hair were hanging down and were reciprocating with the movement of her head which played a pendulum in front of a small lamp. I gazed at her for few minutes and discovered that she was studying something and was helping her father too. After her father flattens a plate, she replaced it with next. I went close to her, stooped to know what actually she was reading and found that she was solving numerical from her mathematics book…. I smiled, looked at her for a while but she was not paying much attention.  She may have assumed me to be another customer of her father. She kept on solving the numerical, counting with her little fingers, which was a little dark may be because of those rusted iron plates. I felt a little grieved when I saw those tiny fingers which were meant to work with color pencils and color papers toiling with rust and hammers at this tender age.  Excited, I asked, “What is your name?” “My name is S.Meena, anna (elder brother)”, she replied with a special childish lilt in her voice. “What’s your ambition, cutie?” She chuckled and lifted her head, eye brows arched and looking up into the sky and replied with a blush, “I want to become a pilot, anna”.

 

Meeting-2

Location- Howrah-Chennai mail

Train had just boarded Visakhapatnam… After a heavy biriyani meal, I was standing near the door to inhale some fresh air that rushes in as the train gathers some momentum, when suddenly my eyes fell on a small magician wearing a tattered white shirt, brown shorts, a pair of torn school shoes whose sole was opening its mouth every time he took a step, entertaining the entire bogie with his tricks. He made flowers appear from his handkerchief, showered glitters from an empty box, bringing out the same stick unbroken from a pipe which he turned and bend thousand times. After his performance, he went to each seat with a small box expecting mercy and pity for his few beautiful acts that everyone enjoyed. But to my surprise, those people who were watching him a minute ago were all either deep asleep covering their face with newspaper sheets, became busy on phone or hurried into the toilet as if they had just realized that their bladder was going to blast seeing the kid approaching. He succeeded only in filling the tin box with few coins that made noise, but not enough to fill even quarter of his tummy. Disappointed, he returned to the door and waited for the next station where he could catch another train back to his home. I gave him a ten rupee note but he wasn’t ready to accept it at first. Rather he enquired me if I had seen his performance and accepted the amount only when he was convinced that I watched him from a distance. I was attracted by his attitude and honesty that made me gaze at him with more interest. “What is your name Mr. Magician?”  “I am Ravi” he replied and soon got busy packing his bag. When I saw few books inside his bag, I started enquiring about him. He said that he is doing his eighth class in a government school in his village. His father serves tea in trains to feed his family which comprises of a diseased mother and four grown up sisters. That helpless father wants the boy to work to earn something for his family. But he was always very interested in studying and even tops in his class. So, everyday he use to go to school in the morning hour and after returning from school, he gets engaged in his work till evening… I was listening to him tight lipped when the train whistled abruptly, as it arrived at a station. All the thoughts that were mounting in my tiny brain imagining about the struggle he had to undergo each day came to a halt. He got down the train and waved me bye…the train roared again, acquiring speed. I shouted out of the running train, “Ravi, what’s your ambition?” “I want to become an IAS officer…..” he replied with confidence, his eyes were sparkling.

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