They pay with their smiles

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A sunny afternoon in Delhi with temperature rising to 40 degrees – Parked and waiting for someone outside a market place, I looked out of my window and saw these four little boys struggling with a trolley full of household goods. They were wearing torn clothes but had beaming smiles. Then followed a couple who picked up the stuff from the trolley and put in the boot of the car. The boys looked with hopeful eyes. The man passed on Rs.20 to the kids. Oh! Their happiness was so evident. They thanked the couple who told the boys to share the money among themselves.

The four happy kids all aged 4-6 ran to the nearest shop and started calculating before they could bargain something of their choice. Then they appeared to have become sad. So they went to the next shop close by. Ah, some smiles were back! They picked up some candies and popped them all and LO… All the TWENTY RUPEES were over. They had worked hard for that money, and they were not begging.

I called them near. They had never been to school and their parents were labourers on the road. They move from one colony to another so cannot study in school. They evinced tremendous interest in my camera, they desired to know how do use my phone and they kept talking, asking, chatting. We were smiling as I answered.

And when another trolley rolled out of the shop, they had to run. I gave them some food from the nearby shop and they smiled ecstatically and waved me a goodbye taking a promise. I shall be back with some books for them to read or maybe leaf through.

My eyes were moist. There must be thousands of such kids on the roads working hard for their living and yet they smile. On the other hand there are so many kids from so many families who have no value for money or books. Attending school to many is a drab, which has to be done daily. A real sad situation. But I learnt from these kids that whatever be the situation we can fight it with a smile.

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