Against all Odds

Around 5:30 pm, my colleague and me decided to take a short break from work. Hungry and bored, we thought of enjoying a puchka and muri treat. Next to CCD on Rawdon Street, we had both the options. We reached the stop and looked forward to a yummy evening snack. As my friend waited for her serving, I felt a tap on my back, turned around to see a young chap smiling back, balancing a pole full of colorful balloons in his hands. He must’ve been about 7 yrs. old.

Eyes full of innocence and a bright smile defined his face. A number of colorful balloons swayed on his pole. Some balloons had a smiley on them while others were of popular cartoon characters. The strong contrast between the bright colors of the balloons and the child’s demeanor couldn’t escape my eye. He was out there to make another child smile, to add colors of joy to an otherwise mundane day; all with his pole full of balloons.

He said – ‘Didi ek balloon lelo’  (Buy a balloon from me) Wanting to head back to office, I didn’t have the scope to buy a balloon from him. I had to say no. He, unaffected went ahead to try and make sales elsewhere. I kept observing him. He seemed undeterred and completely at ease with his work. Had years of experience made him so comfortable? But, wait, isn’t he just 7? How many years has it been since he took up the odds of winning at this job? Shouldn’t he be studying? How will he survive in the constantly evolving world? He’s oblivious of what may come in future and has apparently no guidance either. Will he be able to sustain selling balloons? I guess, life is the greatest teacher and experiences will mold him accordingly.

An obscure existence, Ganesh was well-known by the kids of the nearby school. As they retired from their daily classes, Ganesh would be ready outside the main gate for them to choose their balloons. The stark difference and the imbalance was striking. A sight that can make you wonder and rethink about the lives that people lead. A mere puppet in the hands of destiny or an architect of our live’s blueprint – What are we? What was he?

Ganesh belonged to a family of 3 – A father who earned not much and two younger siblings. Ganesh worked to support his father.

The sun was blazing in full stride even at 5:45 and the heat was still unbearable. The balloons on his pole were still the same and the endearing smile widened as he saw a bunch of kids approaching him. Ganesh was happy in his own world!

Several such kids, all across our country live by the streets and survive with a smile against all odds! They’re an inspiration to not give up and to not give in to circumstances. To keep spreading happiness with all what we have!

Image - Balloon Seller - Hawkers of Kolkata
Pic Courtesy – http://www.ummid.com

 

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