Saturday, March 06, 2010

The Poster Kiddo!

A smirk on his face may be considered by most of the commuters of Sulaiman street of nothing substantial. But, for the barefooted kid wearing rags, a torn pant and a white shirt, enough to cover his lean body, but enough to show his bones, he was the happiest kid in around.

Boys of his age go to the nearby English schools wearing the brightest of uniforms and in fancy cars, but the kid never ever bore an interest. He was contended in his world adoring the walls of Sulaiman street with posters of the Southern film stars. He was provided errands for it, and he loved his job. Everyone used to call him the poster boy, and he loved the name and so the job.Investigative journalists of Kab Tak channel were doing a series of programs on slum kids in Mumbai. It was probably due to the recent success of Oscar winning movie Slumdog Millionaire. And, the channel started visiting the slums of Mumbai to collate more information on them. Sulaiman street housed more than 500 slum kids, mostly cobblers and beggars. Some also had taken the notoriety of turning them into the next underworld Don.

Mahesh Bhatt and Madhur Bhandarkar, notable directors were interested to do a movie on those kids. Sometimes international accolades can nurture national interest, but whether it is limited to Box office business, a case to be seen.

The poster kid those days were busy adoring the walls and theaters for the upcoming Rajnikanth movie. Interestingly,he was one of the few slum kids to be interviewed by Kab Tak channels had no emotion to express. The interviewer quizzed him enough, but she found nothing substantial to be announced as BREAKING NEWS.

Finally, tired and sweat pouring incessantly from her brows, she sat down in a chair. There beneath those curious brows, her eyes could see the poster kid getting inside a five feet municipality cemented pipe. She asked the vendor selling bhelpuri about it and was dumbstruck to hear that the kid stayed in that cemented pipe.

Curiosity she stood to get a glimpse of the place and suggested the cameraman to tag along. A foul smell hit her at the first instant as she came near the pipe. The lady could see everywhere dirt and poverty.

A sewage coming from the nearby apartments passed across the pipe. You could see it inhibited by mosquitoes, and amidst this saw a pipe. A pipe in which you have a small stove, some papers lying here and there, and in one of these you see the kid sleeping. She is left stunned to see how this kid manages to smile and sleep in this place? How?

After a few days, in one of her trips to this slum, she could see that same kido putting a poster on the wall. She could see that smile intact. She could not fathom the reason behind it.

Does he never cram to have a family and happiness or has his tears dried, after all he is just a child. She took courage to ask the kiddo one fine day and when she did, pat came the reply, " Aap to Aadat ho gayi hain". (I am used to it!) . Befitting Bollywood reply from a poster kido.

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