A day, everyday.

Its 4 in the morning. I am standing beside my mother with a bucket in my hand. We are standing in a queue in front of a public tap on road side. Water has become tread like when we reach the tap. It takes another 1 hour to fill up two buckets. Back at our home there is another line of angry for the single toilet built with open top. Mother cooks food for us in the morning before she leaves for work at sahib’s house. She tells we could not get enough water so use it carefully. She also tells me to take care of two of my younger brothers. At 6 i wake my brothers and give them dry chapati mother had made. We leave our home and go to waste dumps, we meet several of our friends there. On our way, we see kids of our age wearing shiny white school dress and carrying colourful backpacks. I look at them again and again in awe but they look at me in disgust. I understand that look and go back on my way. We search the dump for metals. In rare occasions, we get a coin of one or two rupees we go out and buy toffees or Lollipops. Sometimes we even find something edible in garbage, mostly we have to wrestle with dogs to get a hold on it. We spend our afternoon on red lights of main road or outside metro stations. Today I have not gotten anything since morning and evening is fast approaching. I see two ladies walking towards metro entrance, I beg them for 5 rupees but they ignore me. Out of helplessness i clench on to one lady’s feet. She tried to free herself but I held on. In the end, she opened her purse and took out twenty rupees note. I left her feet and grabbed on the note. I went home around 7 in evening with what I have earned. I give it to mother who also has a treat ‘today was chotte sahib’s birthday’ she says and gives us a piece of burfi each and smiles. We savour the sweet which we get only once or twice a year. I broke a piece of my sweet and offered it to mother. Tears roll out of her eyes but her smile remains. She takes the sweet and puts it in my mouth. At 9 we eat what mother has cooked. I lie in her lap and look up through the ceilings of our home. The plastic sheet has torn out and the stars glittered in the dark sky. She moves her hand through my hair and I fall asleep under the starry night.

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