“Kumud, Where is my tea, yar? Newspaper had arrived but it seemed like my wife was running late on her schedule. So, I ran a glance at the newspaper and like daily, the front page was filled with murder, rape, extortion cases. But a news story on the very left side column drew my attention. It was about a report on drug mafia spreading their wings among youth and mostly teenagers. Suddenly, something struck my mind and kept me in a pause for minutes.
“Here is your tea dear”, Kumud said. And at that moment, I realised she was standing there holding a cup of tea with saucer for around 5 minutes. She was giving me a very weird look. Without saying anything further, I took the cup and began to read that story because you can’t make your wife to wait. It reminded me of something, no, it reminded me of someone. It was Zoya, a teenage girl who I met around 15 years ago for the very first time. I was in the college those days and earning some extra cash was a kind of priority. So, I joined an NGO named Pravah with my friend’s reference. Although, the pay was less but it covered my bills. I still remember how enthusiastic I was when a task was given, like I am going to finish it before anyone even attempts. As a result, I was shortlisted for an organisational tour to Udaipur to work for under- privileged children. Our team reached their in the blooming morning at around 6:00 a.m. So, I went straight to my bed to get some sleep.
After around few hours, I saw a little girl nigging around in search of something. I was looking at her actions with weird eyes and she didn’t even realised that I was watching her. After searching for long, she took a half used cigarette lying under the bed as a consolidation prize. I later asked the maid about that little girl with light brown hairs. And by her expressions, It did’nt took me long to realise that I had hit her nerve. She started criticising her in a very crude manner. “Saaheb, she is a cunning thief. She stole my chintu’s new pair of sandal the other day, don’t let her into the house’’, she adviced. But it was not possible to keep away those children from sneaking as we were living in their area and the other thought was that, What harm these children will do? Every morning, I, along with my colleagues went to nearby areas to teach those children. Within few days, faces had become familiar. But, every day I was looking for that little girl who used to peep from outside but never came to attend a single class. One day, I asked my student Gaurav that what the matter with that girl was. He first hesitated and then opened up. “Sir, she is Zoya who lives nearby. She is a rag picker and is not interested in studying”, he said. “Does she have parents”, I asked and he replied negatively. I sent him but the thought was again and again hitting me. What was the use of our initiative if everyone is not benefitted, I asked myself again and again.
The very next morning, I took a break from my regular schedule and went in search of Zoya. I was fully determined to convince her to attend the classes. My search mission was completed when I found her near a local tea stall watching Tom and Jerry. She did’nt even understood the characters but was fully enjoying the show. So, I sat at a bench on tea stall and ordered two cups of tea. “Hi Gudiya, What is your name?” I asked. She gave me a look like I was one of those guys from Child kidnapping mafia. She started drifting slowly but I stopped her. “Listen, I see you every day around the class peeping but you never come inside. What is the matter?’’ I asked. She took a moment of silence and replied that what was the use of studying. I suddenly replied with all the definitions on education and various head looming quotes. But, the next moment, realised that it was flying away from her head.
‘’How much do you make daily in this rag picking’’, I asked.
“80-100 Rupees”, She replied. “Education won’t provide me with two time meal daily but my work will”, she further added.
“But what if you get paid for studying just for 1-2 hours daily instead of working the whole day”, I asked confidently.
There was a spark in her eyes and I trusted my instinct that this investment would not go in vain. From the next day, I started to teach her step by step. She was a bright learner, so it did’nt caused me much trouble. Days passed and she did’nt realise that she had learnt well enough to pass a class 8 exam. One day, after a lecture, when I put my right hand in my wallet to take out the money, she stopped me. Her eyes were wet and it took me less than a minute to know that my hard work on her paid me well.” No Sir, I can’t take money from you, you have already done more than enough for me’’, she said after taking a pause. “I lost my parents at a very early age, so there was no one was to tell me the difference between right and wrong. I, along with other children started to work as a rag picker at a small age. Sir, this is also true that I adopted some unhealthy habits like smoking”, she added.
Zoya had learnt her lesson very well. So, it was of no use to teach her further. The very next day, she took admission in a government school and took her studies seriously. By the time, our visit had also came to an end. We were at the railway station, taking the greetings of people but my eyes were looking for someone else.” Choo choo”, the train had started but there was no sign of Zoya. Suddenly, I saw a little girl dressed in Blue and Khakhi wearing a red hair band holding her shiny hairs waving both her hands to say goodbye. I also waved at her with a goodbye.
Years have passed, but it still gives me a fresh feeling whenever I sit and think about it. Now, Zoya has started her own organisation to help children sharing the same past as her to make a difference to their life.
“Are you not willing to go to office today” Kumud shouted from kitchen. I ran my eyes on the clock and it was showing half past nine and that meant I was running late for my office. I ran to get ready but still having a smile thinking about those moments.
By Yaman BMC II Semester
“You smoke almost two packets a day!”. “Swag bro… “, replied the teenager. Thirty years later, ‘swag’ forced another teenager to choose between her education and her father’s chemotherapy.
One compromise which made her quit. Years of puffs swallowed. Years of snoke rings blown out. Years of memories faded away in the smoke of her final fag. Years of problems, issues, dilemmas which she suspected to be sort by the suck at the butt were all crushed under her feet as she stepped on her last cigarette. Her suspicion was right. Even the last one she stepped on didn’t let her down. She then stepped on the pedal, hands on the steering which steered in the direction of her first love-her dad. The man who taught her her first words, her first step, her first meaningful scribble on the paper. Her education, though vital, though her father’s dream, was on any day at a lower spot in the list of priorities.
She reached the doctor with the money only to find that it was too late. The doctor said, “He split his wealth equally between you and your younger brother…for his education and your marriage.” Sadly this time her suspicion was wrong. Sadness made her subtract ₹12 from her part. Like the fire at the end of her cigarette, burned the pyre her father laid upon. Ashes at both ends met once again.
By Rakshit Nair BMC II Semester
Dakota, a 15-year-old, is a free spirit with a nature of exploring things and living her life to the fullest. She was living at her uncle’s place after her parent’s death. They used to treat her very badly and made her do all the household chores. One day, she left their house. In a park, a lot of poor children were playing. She went there and asked them if she could join. Days passed, the girl was happy with her new life but was unaware that her new habits might affect her health. Slowly, she became a chain-smoker. She was sitting in the very same park one day, weak and pale, when an old man came and sat next to her. He asked her if she is okay and in a couple of minutes she told him everything. The old man replied, “Remember the day when you left your uncle’s house. It’s very simple, if you’ve decided to quit smoking, there is nothing in this world that can stop you from doing so.” The old man took her to an NGO and she started a new life all over again but this time in a right way.
By Namrata Mukherjee BMC II Semester
The story is about a girl named Aana “12” . one day when she was coming from school, 2 strangers who use to kidnap children to bring money by begging on road came and enforcemently took aana to a ruined place and threw her in a dark room. Aana was frightened and countinously shouting to let her go home.
Day passes, now Aana adjust herself in that environment and started doing all that stuff which they want her to do. Aana was not able to bring much money by begging, so they stop giving food to her.
Hungry Aana from last 2 days saw one of them stranger was smoking, kept 2 cigarette on the table and forgot to pick them and when out. Aana thought that may these cigarettes will fulfill her stomach. She pick a cigarette and light it with a match stick and start smoking this was not decreasing her hunger but she was satisfied with it and ones it get finished, she lightened another one….
And that is how Aana got addicted towards cigarette.
By Monika Singh BMC II Semester
A daddy’s princess became World’s Witch
This story is about a girl(Lennox) who lives in Yorkshire, England. She was a daughter of the one of the richest man in Yorkshire. One day they drive to Essex for vacation .When they were on their way back to Yorkshire there was a car chasing them . Anyhow they managed to stop their car and bullied them to come out of the car, they had gun in their hand. Her family was so scared that they thought it was their last day and YES they were right. They shot her mom and dad, she didn’t believed what she saw. It was a nightmare just like a day dream.
She was struggling every minute of her life thinking what will she do next. Sorry I didn’t mentioned that she had a cruel brother(step brother) which got all the property of her dad after they died, and he showed his brutality as he kicked Lennox out of the house. She left with no one as a result she started to live on the streets and tried hard to make her living better.
She get into taboo things like smoke weed, drugs, and alcohol and even inspired other to do the same. She became a notorious person . ” It is started with me but it’s going to end with you”. She even turned into a criminal a started killing people whom she hate . A daddy’s princess became Worlds Witch who always make her way and sings bad girls ruined well. She had become a girl whose main objective was to destroy her brother. People avoid talking to her as she was Psychopath and when she grew older she became rich in crime. She got a line for herself ” a friend with weed is a friend indeed” as she believes in what goes around comes around.
By Samarth BMC II Semester