It was a lovely morning when I boarded the train from the Mambalam station; I purchased a ticket and took a seat in the partly filled vendor compartment. As usual vendors of every type advertised their pens, cucumbers, colouring books and guavas. I bought a packet of peanuts and started munching away to pass the time.
I was half-asleep and lolling on the metal wall of the train when I heard tapping sounds in a rhythmic wave. I sleepily gazed around the compartment to find out the source of such noise. I found a woman who clad a ragged sari tapping a vessel with a wooden stick. When I looked at the center of the compartment, there was this girl who was no more than five years old somersaulting, dancing and doing other sorts of tricks with a small iron ring of her size.
As the tapping ended, she ran to her mother to collect the vessel and came over to the passengers to beg for money with her infantile voice struggling to complete her words. As she came near me and looked at me with her liquid eyes, I saw her features clearly. She looked very pretty but her features were hidden beneath grime and dust and she wore a pink frock that was flowing down to the floor and definitely not her fit.
And it was also evident that she is never going to make it to school and forever be a dancer for her mother’s taps and a bread winner for her family which probably contained a drunkard father and a deaf and dumb mother. She pointed her vessel at me and nodded her head with loud ramblings which I could not understand. After she found me unwilling to part with a rupee or two, she longingly looked at the cooling glasses that I had in my hands and turned away with the jingling vessel pointing at another passenger.
I felt guilty to not give her any money, but I felt it best not to encourage such children. I strongly feel that it is upto us and the government to take initiative to provide education to each and every child in India. Even though the government has made it compulsory for every child to attend school till the age of 15, there are many children on the streets who don’t get proper schooling and literacy and being made to beg by their own parents is a really disturbing situation for the child and he/she may not see any progress in her lifetime.
Good education is an integral part of every human being’s life and it is very essential that the humble children who are made to beg in the streets and trains should be imparted with it for a wealthier, happier and a progressive nation to exist in the future.