They dreamt of golden sunsets, but all they were bestowed upon was something they were never born to do. One, slogging her daily hours in a furnace in the interiors of Faridabad – making fancy children bangles; something she was deprived off. Other, destroying his hands in making fire crackers at an isolated factory in remote village of Karachi.
Both naive of each other’s existence thousand miles apart. The independence partition – 1947, had adverse effects on many, devastating on some.
Their parents could not save themselves during the quest to reach Indian borders and languished due to the events that changed the map of a nation, forever. They are there, somewhere, watching over their children grow in a filthy, disgust, and an unjust world, which commands children to work.
Abdullah thinks he is all alone in this world, so does his sister Laxmi. They, saw other siblings play, wished even they had one, with whom they can share every secrets of theirs. Thousand miles apart, both dream of how a parent is and how a mother would have loved them.
But for Abdullah, 10; and Laxmi, 13; life had something very different to offer from its basket – “Child labor”. Being made to work all day long in dim light was taking a toll on Laxmi’s eyes and for Abdullah, he already had lost one of his fingers to gun powder by making crackers.
Being adopted by a drunkard, Laxmi had to go through traumatic nights. The man would call her in and make her sit on his lap, and then his hands would make their way under her dress – scarring her for life. Whereas, for Abdullah, home was an old dog shelter – where he would return every day, after a long shift and just lay still, between all the filth and dirt. Seldom, both slept without food and remembered how their mom would have made them eat.
Time passed swiftly, Abdullah grew up to a teenager and Laxmi hit her puberty. Their plight still the same. Laxmi still goes to the furnace and makes bangles, which she wishes to wear one day when she would get married. After work, she visits the brothel nearby and gets paid little enough to afford a time’s meal. Abdullah still visits the cracker factory; he has lost his left hand to gun powder. He, after work makes his way to the streets to beg for food. Things were improving for them, now, they slept with satiated stomachs. But above, somewhere, a woman cried and yelled in agony, their mother.
Laxmi, when gazes above to the sky, wishes to fly at times. And Abdullah wishes to play cricket, properly; he wants his hand to grow back.
Divided by boundries, United by child labor.
Aarohan Paul | PGDM 2015-17