On one dark, silent, rainy night, when the complete city was in a deep sleep, I was thrown beside the roadside garbage collector by my father, wrapped in an old jute gunny bag, carried from a slum of the city. I was in deep sleep, because of hunger. I didn’t have any food since I was born from my mother’s womb. As decided and planned before, my father wrapped me in that bag, immediately after he came to know that I was a girl child, without even letting my mother know that I was born alive.
As the city welcomed the morning, I started crying, as I was not able to tolerate the hunger any more, I was in need of milk from my mother, my stomach was getting cramped, I wanted to get warmth of my mother’s chest, affectionate kiss from my mother’s lips. Still, I was inside that jute gunny bag, requesting my mother to take me out from that dark, smelly bag, and to show me the beautiful world, to take me out from that small place, where my breath was getting jammed.
By listening to the sound from the roadside garbage collector, one lady who was in child beggar business, came near the garbage collector, hoping that something she may get which will be useful for her to do some business, to earn some money. She was happy to discover me as a live newborn child. She took me out from that ugly, filthy and smelly bag and held me firmly closing with her chest. I got a breath of fresh air and shiny sunlight. I started holding her fingers tightly and requested her to feed me, assuming that she was my mother. She took me to her small cottage, where she gave me glucose water instead of milk. After having something in my empty stomach, first time ever I was born, I started feeling cold, sleepy and slept within a few moments. She put black color on my face, made me ugly, took me with her and started begging in heavy traffic signals where she earned something, by showing my innocent face to the people. Still, I was in deep sleep, roaming in very beautiful day dreams, assuming that I was lying in the warm lap of my mother.
The night came, she kept me in another dirty, smelly, torn piece of cloth hanging from a small branch of a tree, outside of her cottage. Again, I had to spent one more cold night, outside of house, hoping that my mother will come and will take me in her lap. The next morning started with the same routine.
As the time passed by, I didn’t know when I was grown up and had become useless for her, as she was not able to carry me like a kid to beg. So she left me and I was completely abandoned, roaming here and there, sitting in front of the temple, hoping that someone would give me some food, standing in front of the fast food stall, eating the left over remained in the plates, left by the stall’s customers, being happy by having spicy and tasty foods, drinking water from the roadside municipality water taps, was roaming near the traffic signals, begging for some food, was happy, if someone was giving me money, was having ice-creams with that money, was happy after having such a delicious food, wore the old, torn dresses, shirts and trousers whatever the devotees used to give me while coming to the temples. I was happy, looking at myself in the mirror of vehicles standing in the traffic signals, beside which I used to stand and beg for some food. My clothes were muddy, dirty and torn, as I didn’t know how to clean those, neither was I taught how to clean clothes nor did I ever see anyone cleaning them, clothes. My hair was completely brown and lose, as I didn’t know how to tie them. Was walking the complete day to get some food on bare foot and was sleeping on the footpath, concrete rollers laying on bridge construction areas or in the concrete bench of city bus stop.
I did not know what was the world. I felt like having nice food that people ate in restaurants, to wear beautiful dresses that people used to wear, to sit in vehicles and cars. I was free from all those, free from any annoyance or love. I didn’t know what my future was.
One fine day, when I was sleeping on the roadside city bus stop, a vehicle came, few people came out from it and took me inside. I was happy to see myself sitting in that vehicle. I didn’t know what happened after that. After few hours, they returned back and threw me on the roadside where I lied down losing my consciousness, I was speechless, I had lost energy to get up, feeling like my body was completely paralyzed, feeling like fighting with a huge energy to make my self free and run away from that place. I was bleeding heavily, didn't know what had happened. Didn’t know that I had lost my virginity.
After lying there for two days, somehow I managed to crawl myself to a nearby concrete roller to save myself from the rain and roadside mud. Again, my life started as usual like before. Like before, I used to beg in front of the shops for food.
Few years passed away in between and I was grown up.
I was begging in front of small restaurants, in a hope that someone would be give me food. Someone would be throwing a piece of vada pav at me or someone would be showing me the remaining food lied in the plates left by the customers of those restaurants or someone would be scolding me to leave that place immediately or someone would be throwing me out from the front of their restaurants. In case of any food, I was running towards those remaining food, eating them happily. Drinking water from the nearby water taps and again returning back to footpath, dancing happily in my own style.
One fine day, when I was begging in front of a restaurant, the owner scolded me to leave that place immediately, but still I remained standing there. I was very hungry, didn’t have food since last two days. My stomach was getting cramped and I was not even able to stand properly, my legs were shaking. After seeing me not leaving, don't know why after sometime, the owner called me inside and asked his boy to give me a meal. I started having the meal without looking anywhere. I was trying to keep the rice full of hand inside my mouth, where there was not enough place to keep all the rice. So, some were coming out. I was not able to decide what to eat first. Rice, dal, vegetables or papad, very tasty food it was! Don't know after how many days, I had got a full meal. But that happiness could not last for a long time.
After few minutes, a very strong hand started dragging me. The plate fell down on the floor, all the rice sprinkled on the floor. I tried to escape myself from that force and to run towards the sprinkled food, but, I couldn't. That force dragged me inside a lonely dirty place, where it forced me to fall asleep. They started tearing my clothes. I didn’t have enough energy to fight with it. I was completely helpless, energy less and surrendered myself to him. That force started fulfilling his desire and after few minutes, he instructed his boy to throw me out of his restaurant.
I remembered that even once before I was in a similar kind of energy less state. I was lying in the footpath. The days passed by, I started feeling some kind of uneasiness in my breath, in my body and in my mind, I could not know what was happening to me. Day by day, I was losing my energy to beg for food. I observed that my hungry stomach which was almost meeting my spinal chord had come out. It was the most prominent part of my body which was visible to everyone. Any path walker passing by me was giving me an ugly look. I was not able to walk.
Somehow, I started crawling and reached in front of the same restaurant, where I went the last time. I had to fight with a cruel, inhuman force and started begging for food. The same man looked at me, made fun of me and instructed his boy to throw me out of that place. The boy without making any delay, pushed me towards the roadside and I fell down on the garbage collector. My body started shivering, my mouth was becoming completely dry, my stomach started cramping, everything surrounding me started getting dark, I was gradually turning blind. I started feeling breathless, my body started to sweat. Looking at the unlimited sky, I lost my last breath lying on the same garbage from where my life started one day.
I am the slum daughter of India.