One fine morning, a 12-year-old Chandan was watching a documentary where trafficked children were being rescued and after hearing the statistics of these children he was determined to go out and find a child who’d be a victim of this situation. At around 3 pm he took his bicycle and rode in his colony which was one of the elite colonies in the city of Bhubaneswar and after a few hours he was happy to realize that his area had no child labour and decided to return before sunset. On his way back, he decided to take the market route instead of his usual park route and to his astonishment saw a young boy, about his age, repairing cycles. His determination wasn’t lost and he went up to him and asked-
Chandan: You aren’t supposed to work, you know that, right?
Young boy: It doesn’t matter, I need to earn to feed my sister. Leave me alone.
Chandan: I can’t, this isn’t right! You are supposed to study and I should file a complaint against your parents for making you do all this labour work!
Young boy: yeah, good luck finding them. I stopped looking for them 2 years ago.
Chandan: What! How are you even able to manage all this alone?
Young boy: I work, I earn and I live which Abba thought I could never do so he abandoned me and my Khushi whom he thought was of no use to them!
Chandan: I am extremely sorry to hear that! But, how long can you go on like this! You need to study to become a better person for your sister’s sake at least.
Young boy: Why do you even care? I don’t want to study, I want to earn so my sister can! I wasn’t interested in books anyway, the only thing I care about is my Khushi’s future.
Chandan couldn’t hold back his tears and he knew he couldn’t convince him otherwise because he was satisfied nonetheless! So, he pulled out the 2 milkshake bottles he bought with him and gave it to him. The young boy was shocked. He had never thought that someone could have compassion for an outcast like him. He hugged Chandan and thanked him for the gratitude.
The sun had set and Chandan rode back home with a happy face not because he saved someone from labour but he was able to put a smile on his face when he needed it the most.
Most of us think that we can save every child from labouring, but we don’t realize that each one has a different story and a different definition of freedom. We can’t pull them out against their will because they might think of it as a different kind of prison. Even if we can’t help their situation, regardless of our own financial status, we can always be a helping hand, a compassionate friend, because to the mind of the young, happiness isn’t just a word, it’s their way of life.