An open letter to the Prime Minister to be


Respected Prime Minister,

I chose to write to you today as we still do not know who you will be, though the guesses are few, but somehow writing to a yet anonymous person is easier for me. Let me too remain anonymous though I can tell you that I am a child, who remain anonymous and voiceless. I was born in this city and live in a small shanty house with my family of 6. Our room is so tiny that after fitting one bed there is no place to move but my mother does everything to make it feel like home. Like many others from our village, my parents came to the big city to look for a better life, if not for themselves, at least for their children. They thought that in the big city their children could be educated and have a better chance in life. My parents are illiterate. My father is a daily wager and my mother looks after me and my siblings. 

My home has a tin roof and one small fan but at night we barely fight in it. There are mosquitoes as our slum is tucked away in between factories and a dirty drain goes by it, and we spent many sleepless nights. Last year my brother got malaria and as there is only one quack in our area, he did not treat him right and by the time we rushed to the hospital which is faraway, it was too late for him.
The house is lower than the road so when it rains the room gets flooded. My mother had to fight every day to get enough water and we have to go to the toilet in the open. But at least I can walk and run not like my friend Radha who has a bone disease and walks on her hand. Her house too is very small and when her little brother walks over her, he limbs get broken. In the 12 years of her life she has had more than 50 fractures. Were her house big, this would not have happened. So I guess I am lucky. On my way to school, I see little children begging and looking at them, I feel I should stop complaining. But Sir, do you see them too, and if you do, why don'y you do anything for them?

I do go to school but Sir, how can you study in a class of 80 children and learn anything. My parents cannot afford private tuition and the teachers do not teach us anything. I am lucky because I go to a project before school and they teach me, but my friends move from class to class without learning. I know a boy who is in class VII and cannot even read. I am told that every child has a right to free and quality education so Sir how come I do not get my right. But then at least I go to school. What about the child that begs at the street light. Do you ever look at her when you stop at a light but I forgot big people like you do not stop at lights, you just whizz through. Maybe you should stop at lights and see these children.

I know there have been many schemes to help the poor as we are called, though I do not consider myself as poor as I am better than the beggar child, but they do not reach us. We do not have the papers needed and my parents do not know how to get all that is required to get some cheaper food. You see you need to know people or pay money and we have neither. There are days when my father does not get work and we go to sleep hungry. My mother makes us drink some chilli water and then we have to drink more water and somehow our stomach gets filled. And this goes for every programme that is made for the 'poor'. The ones who really deserve it remain invisible and anonymous. The reservation you made in good schools for 25% of 'poor' children will never reach us.  Wily people become 'poor' as they know how to get papers and their children study in these good schools. I see all the nice buses that pass by as I walk to my school which is very far from my slum.

When we sing patriotic songs at school and salute the flag, I do feel proud of being Indian even though my life looks miserable. But what if I told you that my mother always smiles and tells us that there will be better times and I Sir, am determined to beat the odds whatever they may be. I will make my dreams come true.

But Sir, when you come to power, will you give a thought to us invisible people who are part of this society and give it our best, even if we remain unseen. 

I hope you do. Maybe you could just start by stopping at a red light and looking deep into the eyes of the little girl who will knock at your window. And if you, open the eyes of your heart.

A child of India