An early winter morning
As I step down
from the cosy confines of my home
I witness
Hoards of small children
Sleeping under the stars
Engulfed in the sheet of
Mist, Smog and Fog

These are street children
Most name them ‘urchins’
Some set out for begging
Others exploited as child labour
Their bodies and souls tattered

Getting down from the van
There are maids aged seven to seventeen
A ten year old newspaper boy
Waves and smiles at me
As I go further,
The chotu at the teashop
excitedly shows his thumbs up
Car cleaners shining the cars and whistling their agony away

O teachers! You must have seen
Some students are always
drowsy in your class
Scolding them for unattentiveness
And low marks is your norm
But did you dig into the reason,
Did you read their psyche
Believe me, before and after the skool
They might be working as part timers

The story of the child labourers
At Mirzapur carpet factory is horrifying
So is the plight of the children
At Sivakasi cracker factory
Shroud with danger and mystery

O Working mothers!
You are always availing maternity
And child care leave
To cater to the needs of your offspring
Giving best facilities for your children
But, my question to you is
Don’t these daily wage children have a right
To a secured childhood in the laps of
Their daily wage earning moms

Unknowingly, an entrapped tear
Trickled down my cheeks
A grief stricken me,
Just wonders….
Do these unbloomed flowers
Go to coffins
Just because of Terrorrism only ??

Rules are not meant to be just compiled
In the UNO Charter on the Conventions of the Child
They too have a right to live and bloom
Like your child and mine
A torch of knowledge and
Education is the need of the hour
To enlighten the tender souls
And take them out of their
Pitiable present to a promising future

Help them make a mark in history
O educationist!
There might be a Slumdog millionaire in the making
There might be a Slumdog millionaire in the making


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