Sheeba Vinay

Tragedy Others Children


Sheeba Vinay

Tragedy Others Children

Little Girls, Those We Failed

Little Girls, Those We Failed

4 mins

Aarav stared at Jumki for 10 long minutes...

A fragile-looking 15-year-old sat in the corner of the small room facing him. Her eyes were large brown, with a tint of sadness yet great strength spoke. 

Why are you staring at me bhaiya? She smiled.

Her Hindi overlapped with a dialect from UP.

The tiny room accommodated a kitchen, a rug coat, and a bathing area. Aarav eyes ventured through the room relentlessly...

A case reporter for a famous magazine, Aarav was no new to this type of interview. He had captured the heart, soul, and blood perfumed sweat of sex workers of Red light ( Mumbai),...

He was applauded for his work and awarded for his contribution many times. But here, sitting in front of a 15-year-old, Aarav behaved like an amateur, no clue how or where to start!

When Aarav was asked to visit a tribe community some km across the city in UP, he was particularly excited. Amid lockdown, there are several cases of minors being forced to flesh trade emerging from nook and corner of the states in India. He wanted to go to the root of the cause and create a unique case study that would open the door for his proportion.

He had his questionnaires tucked in his dairy, a small bio of the girl he was going to meet today.

Name: Jumki

Age: 15

Father died by suicide a few years back, mother, a chronic asthma patient. Jumki is the eldest among the three siblings. She dropped out of school after 4th standard.

Aarav cleared his throat and resumed with the first question.

Why did you drop out of school Jumki?

Jumki looked amused. I love to go to school, I dreamt of becoming a teacher and teach all the hapless kids of our community for free. But after my father's death, my mother had to go in search of work. I had to stay back at home to cook, wash, and look after my little brothers. Gradually my mother's health started failing. I had to help her earn money. 

What did you do to earn money? Aarav looked at the large beautiful innocent eyes that still held a spark.

At first, I was a sweeper at the nearby hospital, then I worked at some house as a maid. Different works, still we were left with little money, it was getting hard for the mother and me to send brothers to school and spend money on food.

So, What pushed you to do what you are doing right now?

Jumki stared at the void for some time. It was hard but everything went well. But when the first lockdown hit, we lost our job! Amma had a sudden asthma attack and got bedridden completely. I had no idea how to survive, there was no money for food, medicines, or other necessities. Nobody showed up for help.

Then...? Aarav hesitated a bit

There were some nights, I wanted to end my life. My little brothers went to bed without food. I couldn't bear that.

One day, Somu bhaiya, who works with my mother came home with a "new job" for me. He didn't hide about the demand of the job. I had no other options...I took it! I earn 200 rs per night!

Silence shattered and filled the empty room. Nobody talked for a while. Aarav scrambled the paper with questions under his palm.

Who do you blame for this situation? He looked at her.

Fate, destiny, lockdown, government who are blind towards us, poverty, rich people who buy us... whom do I blame? There are more girls from our community along who are forced to sell ourselves, by the sheer need of food for our families.

Every morning when I go to sleep, I cry without anyone noticing. That's my little moment. But when I wake up, I am alive and ready to face the night again. I had overcome my fear, pain, and anxiety to keep my brothers alive. I have no regrets! Jumki shoots back.

When Aarav left Jumki's house, he knew this was not one of his best interviews, there was no dramas and thrills. The entire questionnaire was not followed. He couldn't look at a 15-year-old and dare to ask the question. But, he now knows exactly what he had to do.

Like Jumki, Aarav too emerged with great strength to face the coming morning...No more Jumkis should be born, he clenched his fist.

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