Deprivation, Struggles and Dreams

Madhuri Bajirao Khade

Born in June 1999, Madhuri Bajirao Khade hails from Raigarh, Maharashtra. Born to the truck driver Mr. Bajirao Laxman Khade and Mrs. Kavita Khade, Madhuri is a student of class twelfth. She wants to be a Police Officer.

Once I returned from college and saw my parents worried. Mother seemed to be dejected and was talking to herself. The reason was that my father had not got any work the previous day. He is a truck driver and feels dejected when he does not get work. He keeps calculating how much salary would be deducted and what expenses would have to be curtailed. That day he was unusually happy. He was sure that he would get some work. Moreover, in the evening he was asked to move some stuff at his owners house, for which he was to be paid.

But Aai had different worries. It was winter. My grandmother could not tolerate cold water bath. So, she needed hot water. But LPG cylinder was about to get over. Subsidized cylinder was already consumed. Hence, my parents were required to pay as per market rate to buy a LPG cylinder.

Next month my sister had her birthday. As it was her first birthday after marriage, Baba wished to gift her sari. But, that was not possible. Aai is a housewife. She is not a working woman. There are six members in our family including three siblings, my parents and grandmother. My brother and I are studying in college, but we never had money to take rickshaw to college. Every day we walked to our college. Every morning in our house is filled with worries. My father’s meagre salary is not sufficient even for a month. Our family makes both ends meet only on his small earnings. At times, we don’t even have money to buy a LPG cylinder, give rent of the room or sometimes we don’t have money to meet other household expenses. Sometime, we get to eat only wada-pav. New cities are being established. But, poor families like us do not get a ray of hope. In school and colleges we are taught that food, clothing, shelter, health and education are our basic necessities. Even there is a food security act. But I don’t remember even a day when we had a simple satisfactory meal. My mother and I do trivial jobs from home. At the time of my elder sister’s marriage, we helped with some financial contribution by doing small jobs.

We overcome the condition at home, do all household work, face difficulties and are still pursuing education. We also have to face many difficulties while taking education. College education is expensive and it is impossible for us to afford books and stationary. My brother and I borrow books and notebooks from our classmates and study. My father is always worried about repaying various debts. We have to think twice before asking him for money. But, these hurdles fail to stop us from passing our exams with good marks. Our parents are happy with that. They do whatever they can.  They always advise us to study well and take higher education. They bless us to be happy and want us to lead a prosperous life. They are educating us even in these difficult circumstances

When my Baba goes out for work, he does not return home for two-three days. We miss him during this period. Even on Sundays we are not sure to meet him, as when he returns he finds us sleeping and when we leave for college, he is asleep.

My father faces many hardships. When he goes for work, there is no guarantee that he will return home safe. Everyone in my family is worried till he returns home safe. Often, he gets orders to go to other cities when he is on his way home. When he is with loaded truck he has to wait for two-three days. The company where he goes with loaded truck does not allow using mobiles in the premises. So, neither we nor he can contact us. Unless until he contacts us there is no guarantee that he is safe.

Usually, he has no acquaintance with the region he goes to. Also, he is not safe there. Sometimes, he has to go to a forest or a deserted area. Only drivers of the vehicles accompanying him are with him. Many incidences of theft, violence, and abduction occur. My father has also experienced such incidences. Once, he was driving a loaded truck to deliver the goods. He stopped at a petrol pump to fill diesel. Then, he went to a hotel to take parcel of meal as the vehicles accompanying him were yet to arrive. He took the parcel and as he was returning to the truck, some thieves attacked him. They initially acted as if they were asking him the way and at an opportune moment, robbed him off all the money, mobile and all the expensive things with him. After sometime Baba gained consciousness and saw that he was robbed off everything. He did not even have a single penny. Later, he borrowed money from the drivers accompanying him and delivered the goods. When he returned home he was quite stressed.

Many accidents occur on the road. Some roads are such that one has to drive vehicle carefully and attentively. Many a times, there is traffic congestion.  Anything could happen anywhere. When my Baba is carrying a loaded truck he does not eat anything for two-three days, as there are no facilities of food, shelter, bath, water. So I feel my Baba is not safe when he is away for work.

Drivers also want to spend time with their families and give quality time to their children. They want to chat with them and enjoy.  My father too, has the same feelings. He also wants his family to be happy and free of all the stress. He really works very hard.

He seems tired now. When I see him, I feel sorry for not being able to support him. I can’t work as no one gives a job to a minor.  I am still studying.

My friends come to college well-dressed. They follow the latest fashion. When I look at them, a sense of inferiority seizes me. Nevertheless, I have some good experiences. I borrow my friend’s books to study. They help me. They take good care for me. But, I can’t tell this to my father. He is already indebted. He took debt for my sister’s marriage and he is working really hard to repay it. So, I don’t have the courage to ask for money and bother him more. I try to save as much money as possible. This is the only way, I think, I can help him.

My father has only one wish to see me becoming a police officer. I also have the same wish. So, I study very hard. Though my Baba is indebted, he never lets us fall short of anything. He says that he will incur whatever expenses are required for my education. He is ready to take more loans for my education. I like his attitude of never giving up. Because of father’s encouragement, I am determined to be a police officer. I will try to make Baba happy as soon as possible. I adore my father. He is with me in every situation, in my victories and failures, in my happiness and sorrows. I will always be worthy of his trust. I am going to fulfill his dream and wish to make him proud.

I love you Baba and I miss you.

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