Anil was running late, as usual. The list he had been handed over was so unrelated, that he couldn’t help it.
He was trying his best to reach on time: walking briskly or even running at times. Finally after gathering every item, he moved with quicker steps, though the weight of the things was restricting his pace. Just when he was taking a final look at the small list he had been handed, he rammed into car. He fell hard and all his things got scattered on the ground, just like his dreams and desires had been. He was saved just by a second by getting run over. Somebody shouted from inside the car:
“Aye! Are you blind or what?”
He stammered, “SS…Soorry saheb, I apologize.”
“Huh, fool!”, he concluded.
Vegetables, fruits, biscuits, surf packet, oil and a dozen other things got dispersed. But determined he was; he rose up and recollected all the things one by one. No one came to his aid, but he needed none.
Not the bruises but some of the smashed tomatoes were what pained him more. Not his broken arm but his broken chappals brought more difficulty. Scared to death he recollected himself and ran to home.
With his hands shivering, he rang the bell. A lady answered the door with unwelcoming looks.
“Oh, so our hero is home finally”, she said sarcastically. “What’s your excuse for today?”
“Memsahab, my mother’s was running a high fever. That’s why.”
Anil was too afraid to tell him of the accident. He didn’t want to have any punishments yet again. But how could he hide his clothes that had got dirty, the purchases having a bit of dirt over the packets!
The unwelcoming woman gave a look of surprise, demanding an explanation. Anil had to explain everything. He wasn’t left with his any choice. She was her master, after all. The woman was completely pissed by now and cancelled his dinner for the night as a punishment for his carelessness.
Little did she notice the poor plight of Anil who’s dried up blood was screaming his pain. Only if her gold rimmed spectacles gave her the power to see all.
Maybe had she been brought up without those curtain slippers, she would have known how it was for Anil to run in those worn out chappals who had finally took their last breath after that small accident.
That poor Anil, just 11 years old, had to pack up his dreams, lock them and throw them away to place unknown when his father died of an accident while driving an auto rikshaw and left him nothing but debts. The car ‘crushed his aspirations’ too along with his dad.
At the tender age of 11, he had to bear the responsibilities of his family on his shoulders rather than the school bag.
The boy, who should have been playing with toys, had to clean up toys of kids at other’s home as a servant.
The boy had been brought not by kisses or hugs, pampers or gifts but by scolding or beatings; only by bad fate.
With an ailing mother at home who was suffering from TB and two younger sisters, he had to not only forget about his dreams and aspirations but also had to work hard like a man to aid his family.
He never felt bad about anybody’s harsh words. He had been going through worse situations that somebody abusing him didn’t even count as something to be reacted at.
Life taught him such hard lessons that he had been forced to grow up way beyond his age.
An innocent soul had been trapped in the net of child labor. An aspiring pilot’s wings had been broken by the weights of uninvited troubles and no way out.
His flying of paper planes was the only planes he could ever fly.