A boy from Kasur

Sonia Malik May 10, 2010

Being in a newspaper, I often take pride for not having to get up too early, have time to myself in the early afternoon, and to dress up at my own luxury before heading to work at around 3 pm. However, just until a few days ago, an unusual insomnia hit me and my mom thought it fit to not let it go to waste. She handed me the car keys and sent me to the nearby sabzi mandi. As soon as I get out of the car, I was surrounded by around a dozen kids, each wanting me to rent his wicker basket. The kid I chose turned out to an eight-year-old. Being as friendly as I am (smiles), I started interviewing him. “So is this a pastime or were you born to support your family?” I asked. Mimicking a thick Punjabi accent, like that of an adults, he replied: “Well I come from Kasur, better wage, more cars, everything is lovely about this place so I decided to move here to support my family.”

I was taken aback by his maturity and I stopped. Where is this kid from!? He’s too small to be talking like this, I just thought to myself, as I tried my best to look unaffected. I asked him how much he made and where he lived. He said that he had a distant relative in Lahore and that out of a hundred or so rupees that he earned every day, he would spend twenty on food and save the rest. He also said that once every two weeks or so he would go to his home in Kasur.

As I bought the vegetables and fruits, he took me to a side when he saw me struggle with bargaining. He offered to bargain for me so I just handed him the money and let him do my groceries. I paid him Rs 100 before leaving, just to make myself feel better I suppose. Later, I could not stop thinking about this boy. He was missing out on his childhood trying to earn a hundred rupees and here we were earning thousands sitting in our air conditioned offices. I suppose we all need to seek contentment in our struggle with life.