· Reading time: 3 minutes

Shoe Polish Boy!

From the Vaishali metro station in morning, the chill of January, I had grown towards Mahagun Apartment, that a group of children appeared from the front. Every boy had brush to shine shoes in their hands. Two or four children surrounded me and urged me to get the polish on the shoe. When I refused, they went in search of a new customer. The six-seven-year-old boy who was back in that group stopped there. Gradually, I came close enough.

“Please sir help us it done, shoes will shine like your clothes.” Boy them held my feet and said, “I have not eaten anything since morning. Give me a cup of tea, sir.”

“I have 500 rupee, will give it to you later. ” I asked him to get rid of the because I was going to attend a concert and I was already late enough. There was some sadness in my heart that even after wishing I had not been able to help the child.

Vaishali when I came last decade ago, the majority part of the forest here was deserted. But increasingly many multistory buildings & large apartments rise in last two-three years. Shaking every relationship, humanity and moral values ​​due to the increasing housing problem in the cities suffering from the wounds of the capitalist system. Money and time have become extinct somewhere. No one is happy to live, nor does anyone mourn when someone dies.

I reached the program quickly by rickshaw. The program was in progress. When my name was called, I too sat back in my seat after reciting two poems from restless and taking the trophy of reward. But the mind was filled with self-aggrandizement. I left the event early, apologizing to the organizer. Thinking that I will give tea to that child and feed him whatever he wants to eat.

I walked back towards Vaishali metro station on foot. I was surprised to see that the same children were eating tea, juice, biscuits at the shops there. The child who had shaken my inner heart was also having fun sitting on one side and eating tea-biscuits. I put fifty rupees in his pocket and said to the shopkeeper, “Sir, please feed him whole food.”

“Sir, gods like you have taught them to beg.” The shopkeeper said in a loud voice, “Do not do this, you guys pity and feed them tea and water. So they boys are became beggar in future.”

“Brother, this is what happens when the proper reward of karma is not received, then the indolence in the mind of a particular person goes to the house. If people have a small stomach full of ten or twenty rupees, then do not blame them. If you want to speak, then talk to those leaders and businessmen who in turn illegal work in the direction of making billions, billions and trillions of crores. Saying this, my heart was lightened and in a happy posture, I proceeded towards the metro station.

•••

(Hindi short story of Mahavir Uttranchali “Boot polish wala”
English translation by Abhishek Bhandari)

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