A businessman's experience of a new outlook of life from the perspective of a poor boy
|Twinkling lights reflected in his eyes as he spoke of his future as an answer to the question I had asked him.
“… this is just the beginning for me,” he was telling, “Soon, with enough money, I will go on for higher studies and become a social worker to help the society!”
Though I was surprised by his answer, I was touched by the hope and sincerity that I saw in his eyes; the eyes of twelve year old, who can be considered to be a mere street urchin.
Almost every other day I would notice this young boy by the side of the entrance to the park, selling lime juice. At first I barely noticed his presence, as I usually do regarding beggars and roadside vendors. But the boy’s sunny smile at everyone who passed by caught my attention. His smile was natural and as refreshing the morning sun.
After a month of smiling at him, I felt like talking to him. I was curious. What was there in this boy, which had appealed to me? So I struck up a conversation. The boy had no trouble opening up.
Soon I came to know that his life revolved around taking care of his sick mother. He kept a small cart to sell juice to the joggers and walkers keep up the rising costs of his mother’s medication.
“Why do you want to become a social worker?” I asked.
“We had to move out of my village, Sa’ab,” he said, “After my father died two years ago in an accident, everyone started treating my mother as an outcast. I hated it. She was not allowed to move out of the house and had to confine herself to a corner. She could not attend any ceremonies as a widow is considered to be a bad omen.”
“I somehow managed to bring her out of there and stay here. It was not easy. My neighbor, who was also my mother’s good friend, helped us to come here. Now my mother is very ill and I took up this business of lime juice”.
I felt sorry for the youngster, but at the same time I marveled at his resourcefulness. A considerable number of people bought juice from him after they finished their daily rounds of health.
“I want to become a social worker so that I can educate the society about the reality. I don’t want innocent people like my mother to suffer for no fault of theirs. Our nation is progressing, but why not the people at the grass-root level? I want to do something about it!”
Tears began to form in my eyes. This boy was undergoing so much of hardship but he never let it show. No wonder I was interested by him.
“Don’t pity me, Sir, God has given me enough to help myself. I am merely using it appropriately. Many people appreciate the fact that I don’t beg. I tell them, what is the use of begging when I have the means to earn? Isn’t that right?”
I nodded and smiled at his positivity.
“Give me a glass juice, son,” I said. I made it a point to buy juice from him whenever I came here. In that way I would be doing something to help him and in turn helping the society too indirectly.
He poured me one and we talked for some more time. As I was going home after paying him, I could not get him out of my mind. His genuineness, his determination and trust in himself was evident and admirable. In some ways, he was like me. I too had the determination to use my skills and work. But our goals are different. I do it for my satisfaction, while he does it for a living. I have the choice of retiring whenever I want, but he does not.
I wanted to do more to help him, but I was afraid of hurting his pride. Maybe when I am more familiar with him, I can offer him a job at a better place.
The shades of life are diverse but one has to be positive and open enough to see them. This boy could have sat quiet and wallowed in self pity, but instead, he took it in his stride. This was an important lesson for me.