Hello. My name is Seema. I study in M.C.D. Primary School, Vishal Enclave, New Delhi. I am in 4th class. I live in Raghubir Nagar, J.J. Colony. My father’s name is Brijlal Tiwari. He is a labourer. He works at Manikchand Seth’s construction site. My mother’s name is Kamla Tiwari. She is a housewife. She cooks yummy food and loves me and my brother a lot. She is very beautiful.
I have a question to ask you all. Why is this “Children’s Day” celebrated? Today in school our madam told us that Chacha Nehru was born today. He loved children. So the day is called Children’s Day. But I am a child, Raju is a child. I know children love toys. Then why is there no Toy’s Day when we would get many many toys? What is so special about Chacha Nehru? Is Rose Day also celebrated because he liked roses? I saw his photo. He always used to wear a rose.
I asked this same question to my teacher, when she wished me “Happy Children’s Day Seema”. I said, but what is so happy about today madam? I don’t know why she had no answer to my simple question. She asked me, “But Seema, why isn’t today happy according to you?”
I thought what was the answer. Like everyday, I woke up at 4 o’clock today to help mom in her work. It was cold. Very cold. So mom gave her old torn shawl to me. She said a rich lady had gifted it to her. I wondered, do rich ladies wear such torn shawls? So sad. It makes me unhappy for them.
From 4 to 6 in the morning I helped mummy wash clothes, utensils and do cleaning work of the house. Bapu says I have to help her because she is sick. I don’t like waking up so early. But I have to. After all the work I was feeling hungry, not happy, madam. Like all days there was nothing to eat. I ran upto Bapu asking for food. He had tears in his eyes. He was saying that the little money he had, went in buying maa’s medicine. So I asked him to cheer up. Maa gave me one rupee. Yay. She said she had saved it for me. Yes, that one rupee was my happiness, madam. If that is what you call happiness.
I wore my uniform. I was scared that my teacher will scold me today also, asking why is it dirty. But how do I tell her, I have only one uniform. If I wash it, it won’t dry till next day. So I can wash it only on Sunday.
I was scared, I was not happy, madam.
One day last week, after school when I came back home, Raju was alone. He is an irritating boy. He was crying when I came back. He was playing in mud. Kanta aunty told me that Bapu’s hand got trapped in some machine. He had been admitted in hospital. Mom was there to look after him.
Maa came home at night. She just fell down on the bed and started crying. I asked her what happened. She said we have no money and doctors are asking for money. Bapu will die if we didn’t get money. But why? Teacher says doctors save lives. Money is not needed to save lives or is it?
The next day she started collecting things to sell off. All the utensils, clothes, water container, fan, water can. She took my doll too. It was the only doll I had. I loved it so much. I tried to keep it back. Maa said you will either get doll or Bapu.
Maa has said I will not be able to go to school now. I am so unhappy about this. I love going to school. I wanted to study more English. How will I become an English teacher now??? I am unhappy. Very unhappy. Why do we have to suffer through all this? I see children on the roads wearing nice clothes, having nice things and going to big schools. Why can’t I get all that? They eat nice nice food. Then why can’t Raju get food too? At least he will stop cying then.
I want to tell everybody, I am very angry. I don’t know what is Children’s Day. There is nothing happy in my life, in Raju’s life, in Maa’s life. Bapu’s one hand has been cut too. Now I will have to go to people’s homes and wash utensils with mom. I don’t like doing such work. I hate washing other people’s dirty vessels and clothes. But maa says I have to help her with this. Otherwise Bapu will never be fine, Maa will die of “astama” and Raju will cry all day. No. I can’t tolerate Raju crying all day.
Yesterday was my first day to work with Maa. The uncle in the house misbehaved with her. He touched her on the back. And started saying strange things saying I will give you money. Maa took me and we ran from there. I asked Maa what was he doing. She said he was trying to touch her. She also told me I should not allow anybody to touch me. The world is bad and wants to take advantage of girls. I don’t understand all this. But I do understand that I don’t have to let anyone touch me now. Yesterday Meena touched me while playing hide and seek so I told her not to.
This is my life now. Washing utensils and dirty clothes. I dont like washing underwear so I ask Maa to do that. If she was not there I don’t know what would I do. I won’t go to school from tomorrow. Today, Maa went to Manikchand Seth asking for Bapu’s salary. He said he had paid already. He showed some papers with Bapu’s thumbprint. I read the papers. Bapu never knew what was on the papers. I was happy i could read the paper.
What is so happy about Children’s Day? Or does it mean “Happy Children’s Day”—the day of happy children only? Don’t wish me that. It will make me angry. The day I get to go to school, study English, wear proper clothes, eat enough food, the day Raju stops crying, the day Maa and Bapu are okay… that day I will also wish everybody… Happy Children’s Day.