The Homeless of the Palace

Home is where the heart longs to be even after seeing the grandeur of the world outside.
Home is where there are the few people who love you, within the walls inside, even though there are million better people in the world outside. Home is where there is freedom, confined behind the bars of love, respect, trust and belonging.

Many people in this world are without a House- sleeping on streets on cold winter nights, couching under polythene sheets when it rains, rolling on dusty footpaths in scorching summers… Yes there is Pain. But there is Freedom too.
For many others, trapped within the four walls of the mansions of their masters- it rains fear. And Life is an endless winter-cold, dry. Life is a footpath which people trample by.


This story is of two such children who unfortunately have such kind of a Home- Bubbly and Chutki. Bubbly is a black eyed, black bodied 15 year old girl. Chutki, who was so small when she came that nobody remembers her real name. For her mini size, they call her Chutki.

It is Raina’s Birthday, the daughter-in-law of the majestic mansion. There’s a cake being cut, snacks distributed to the guests. Raina feeds the cake to every member and calls out for the two girls. Fear gripping them, they run away.

An hour later she watches them eat fragments of the cake, in the kitchen crooks. There is ice cream too but the expensive porcelain bowls are noticed to have been misplaced. The father-in-law takes out his slippers and lashes at Chutki. The mother-in-law does the balancing act. She asks to lash Bubbly too…
The two celebrate their birthdays there…the price for being born as orphans and to poor parents is very well paid. They will never blow the candles, where life has rubbed off their flames. They will never cut Birthday cakes, where life cuts them each moment with its injustice and irony…

Raina regrets, why had she ever gifted her father-in-law those Slippers… Why was it even her birthday!!
The midnight party ends. Raina looks at the two who haven’t shed a tear. Their eyes are ice-white and cheeks and ears blood-red. They lick the quarter scoop of molten ice-cream fast, before that too is taken away and flung into the sink.
Raina’s conscience melts into guilt. She cannot revolt, cannot protect, cannot love them too. She cries into the night wondering how they never cry.

Some days she wakes up at 6 to see them being lashed with a broom or a ladle or a lock , for an unclean floor, an unironed saree, or for simply giggling like ‘illiterate and uncultured’ brats. She cannot decide what good literacy or culture might have done to them. She was literate and cultured and so were her in-laws- one was the heartless perpetrator the other a coward, passive passerby…

She hugs them when they are alone,praises them generously, gives them little hair-clips and trinkets, laughs with them, slips candies into their palms each day…They hastily swallow it for fear of being caught, sometimes even being caught and lashed once again…

Again the candy has choked Bubbly’s throat and she has choked the tears somewhere behind her eyes, acting as if it was all a common affair. No guilt, no pain- like the killing of a mosquito.

Raina says, “Bubbly! Look there are many children in this world who donot have a house, who donot have clothes, who donot get to eat even twice a day. So atleast you have all that…Don’t you think so?”… speaking as if they have ever complained. The coward in her conscience, pacifying their hidden pain.

Bubbly smiles with her bunny teeth ajar, “But Didi we donot eat too, when we break the glass tumblers.”

Raina tries to smile. God is kind enough to put these Iron birds in this Golden cage. Had they been birds of glass, they would have shattered just like her.

According to the latest Education for All (EFA) Global Monitoring Report from UNESCO, there are 57.8 million children who are out of primary school globally, and India with its 1.4 million children out of school, is among the global top 5 worst performers.To put it simply, worldwide, 1 in 10 children are not in school.With an officially estimated 12.6 million children engaged in hazardous occupations (2001 Census), India has the largest number of child labourers under the age of 14 in the world.Nearly 85 per cent of child labourers in India are hard-to-reach, invisible and excluded, as they work largely in the unorganised sector, both rural and urban, within the family or in household-based units,or as domestic helps which are generally out of the purview of labour laws. They are nothing but Bonded labour, because no child will willfully surrender his/her childhood for money whose value he/she is too young to understand.

Ever thought? a child labour becomes a labour first, and a Child never!


20 responses to “The Homeless of the Palace

  1. ‘Iron bird in golden cage’ sums up the irony which is all too common yet invisible for lack of sensitivity and selflessness of many of us who remain ‘child forever’.
    Credit to people like u who dare,care n share to make this world more compassionate sensitive n caring.
    thank you

  2. Ya Allah. This was…so moving.
    Sad how so many children are forced to live lives like these…and sad is but a small word. The problem is that it isn’t about a ‘bad day’ jo end hojae and your worries are gone and oh here a silver lining, no! They have to live with it and suffer with each passing day and think of what they don’t have, what they won’t have, and the ‘why’s behind these questions.. the ‘why’s that have no answers, wesay, except ”tis your fate, human’.
    But of course, they don’t have the rude & inhuman human ways written in their fate. that’s something we humans write ourselves. ’cause we be so godly, uff.
    Don’t know what I said above, but hey the story and the message were both amazingly given, and your words have the power to melt hearts.
    P.S. Love you so much!

    • Hey meri Pyaari Maria! back you are!! Yes I know this was a moving tale…i feel so much helpless too, finding this harsh reality in India…
      thinking all the time about the things as you said they dont have and wont have ….
      And your mere presence has the power to melt all… even my words 🙂
      lots of love my dear!

      • It’s not just in India, Pamela. It is so in my country too. Thousands of children working to earn their families an income, when it’s really their time to study and play. From streets to hotels and car-garages to houses, and even university cafeterias (’cause that’s where I see one everyday)… May we see those ‘fates’ changing soon.

        Yes, back I am. And back are you! 😀 So good to be reading again on your blog and finding your comments on mine. ♥

  3. Very nice post – interesting text – thanks for sharing! Bye. Kamila

  4. Hello Pamela,
    This is to notify you that you’ve been nominated for the One Lovely Blog Award.

    Take Care 🙂

  5. I feel pity for these kids. Why don’t our govt do something for them.

    • Hi Anusia! thanks for visiting and leaving your marks here…
      our government has to certainly do, but it has also been doing as well. It is people like us, who do not cooperate with what the govt wants to do. In the end , it’s all about the mindset and attitude.
      stay blessed!

  6. Home is where the heart longs to be even after seeing the grandeur of the world outside…… This struck a chord so deep. Homelessness and poverty are beyond terrible esp. when it comes to kids. Other than feeling helpless, I usually don’t know what else to do or say.

    Btw, in your absence, I wanted to post a “Knock-knock, whereforth art thou” joke but felt it too shallow for such deep waters. 🙂 New gravatar w/ jaunty cap suits yer cheeky self.

    • Hi Radhika! So glad you thought about a knock-knock 🙂 And the deep waters you think is all a mirage I tell- sab moh Mayaa 😉 thanks fr the compliment gal!
      I haven’t been blogging lately, not even visiting my fellow blogger’s work… caught up in saas-bahu-saazish games 😛
      So catching up now…

      • soul . to . earth

        Why not pitch the plot to Ektaaaaah Kapoor as “Koi Saas-Bahu Saazish for a never-ending TV series? 🙂
        Be well….your spirit is much-needed and makes a difference, whether you know it or not.

        • hahahah.. just too funny! the other day , i got a message saying, ” dekho Saasu Mom. Dont you forget that , if you think Im your jerry, then ofcoz you are my Tom” 😉

  7. Very much well said Pam as always…
    I guess God is kind enough to place me in such a profession where i can rescue at least some child labour from the so-called employers who exploit them and their innocence..
    Once again a big thankyou Pam for ur writings r ever eye openers 🙂

    • yes dear, since you have that heart to do, you have been placed in such a profession. God bless you dear and I should be the one thanking you i suppose 🙂

  8. As always superb ! m going through second time 🙂 nice fodder points for essays 🙂

Leave a Reply to randomlyabstract Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s