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{link:I am glad. Absolutely nothing has changed in me.
With respect to them}
Didi {means sister}, 
why do not you buy my books?   
your book does not have pictures. 
I have many books with colorful pictures.  
A huge tide of innocence – slapped down on me so hard, left me wondering 
why do people say such children, who sell different things 
on the streets, everyday, are like “a bag of tricks”? 
  
  
Didi, 
mujhe woh gudiya dena please ? 
{Please give me that little doll – a little hand at the rag doll in my car}   
A little girl forgets to sell her load of magazines. Just for a few seconds.  
She, all of a sudden, remembers her need to clutch a doll. 
Why does mom say such children, who sell different things 
on the streets, everyday, are “a bunch of liars”?

Children of Streets wake up early, when it's still almost dark out there
Their faces look as if they are still dreaming of good little things, they
saw other children enjoying previous day, evening or night....
Holding each other's arms, hands over their buddies, together they walk on
to face the sky, which is waking up, promising a few more coins today.
There's no one for them in this world, but other children who are just
like them - no school, empty stomachs, to do things together - sell things,
play hide and seek between the cars, pose with smiles to the cameras.

As the classic from Phil Collins goes on ....

 

She calls out to the man on the street
sir, can you help me?
Its cold and Ive nowhere to sleep,
Is there somewhere you can tell me?

He walks on, doesnt look back
He pretends he cant hear her
Starts to whistle as he crosses the street
Seems embarrassed to be there

Oh think twice, its another day for
You and me in paradise
Oh think twice, its just another day for you,
You and me in paradise


 
We meet children like Chotu everyday in our respective cities. He is one of them, 
18 million+ children who live or work on the streets of urban India. Roads blazing
with burning sun under their bare feet, scorching sun beating down on their little 
heads and gnawing hunger in the pit of their tiny stomachs, do not deter them, as 
they constantly are under this heartless pressure from their team leaders or big 
bullies or clumsly-clad men with drugged looks, or their moms {could be real ones 
or temporary ones} to sell their wares to every car, scooter, auto-rickshaw....
They constantly monitor the "Red, Orange, and Green" colours of the traffic 
signal. Interestingly, most of them, still ,seem to have their innocent smiles 
intact, which they beam at friendly looking strangers. kid_i-day2.jpg 
Behind their cherubic smiles, lie darker shadows of problems they face every 
moment - problems of many kind, much bigger than those we face, more intense
- malnutrition, hunger, health problems, substance abuse, theft, harassment by 
the authority police and railway authorities, as well as physical and sexual 
abuse. Tiny little tots, barely a few months old, with their little foreheads or 
eyes or hands bandaged in grimy rags, with a hint of "red-colored blood", 
are used as devices by their mothers {such babies can be borrowed for a week}, 

in "criss-cross begging" on the main streets, loosely holding them against their
breasts. Everything - the dust, the hunger, the sun, the monsoon, the cold 
winter work relentless on these children. And most of them lay insensate, 
fragile to such acts of brutality, as they are under the influence of some 
weird drugs.
Who has given Who to snatch away their right to enjoy a childhood filled 
with innocent joys from them? 
Who do we have here - parents or the system, to blame?
Can anyone respond to me? Can anyone care to pause and think about this?
What's that tiny gesture each one of us can spare for Children of Roads?   

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