Part I….The deal
Deepak beamed with happiness as he saw the heap of garbage that lay untouched right before him.
One Man’s trash is another man’s treasure. For him, it was through the pile of garbage that he eked, what he thought a dignified life for himself; at least, compared to what he had left behind a couple of years ago. Rag picking was his door to door refined life.
It was almost dawn and the dump in that area was intact – exactly what he was looking for. Making sure that no one was watching him, he started to skim through it. He knew what he was doing was against the rule but no rule could confine Deepak.
“The new boy leaves nothing for us. He takes away all the cream. You better do something about it.” The rag collectors began whining before their boss and since then, a new rule was set – everyone was allocated a specific area for rag picking and if anybody went beyond their allotted area, they would be imposed a penalty. But Deepak followed the first-come first-take belief, which had made him lose his area as a penalty. He had been booted out of the community.
“I will give you back the liberty to dig into any junk bin you wish to if you get me what I ask for. You are free to your will if you do so. This is a chance to stay back.” For a survivor like Deepak, this challenge was a child’s play and not to accept it would be an opportunity missed. It was in fact a secret pact between him and the scrap dealer, who was very aware of the rules. The catch, however, was, “if caught digging someone else’s trash, I would not miss a chance to punish you”. This meant Deepak had to be extra cautious while going for his hunt.
“Don’t you forget your words; I will be back after two days with what you have asked for.” With that, he left the place. For Deepak who had escaped death and ditched his cursed past barely two years back, this had to be his window for the dignified life he has aspired for.
The trash that lay before almost made him jump with excitement, “Jackpot!” He exclaimed at the sight of it. “Luck is with me for sure”, he murmured with a grin as he dug into it. With every pull came out rusted iron wastes and many more discarded metals which would easily cross the assigned target. His hands were moving quickly not wanting to leave a single piece behind and if he did not make it fast that area’s pickers would turn up any moment.
“Hey who is that? Stop!” A sudden shout from behind made Deepak pause and grin. His hands landed on a heavy box which lay in the corner of the trash bin, with no time to open it he thrust it into his sack. He was aware who the call was from, as the area’s picker was to be there now. With the increase in pace, he kept leafing through the pile until he was sure nothing was left for the person coming behind.
When the footsteps came nearer, Deepak grabbed his collection, slung it over his shoulder and murmured to himself “Run! Run! Run! Run”. He darted out of the place. Not once did he look back and his feet not willing to stop at any cost, he ran again, for his life. With his feet moving fast his memories rushed back to the night he had eschewed a horrid life.
Running was how he was redeemed from his past. Running it is what would help him escape tonight.
A few years back…
“You killed her,” Chotu yelled at those men dragging her body out from the corner. “Yes it is because of you she died, if only you had taken her to the hospital she would have lived.”
“What rubbish are you talking,” a fox faced, lanky man, walked forward, yelling at the boy.
“She did not belong here, none of us do. You kept us all from our families, make us beg and steal for you. And leave us to die.”
“Will someone shut him up? Tapan, take him away from here.” With his eyes fixed On Chotu, he spoke with clothed teeth “Will deal with you later boy.” On his order, the person standing next to him pulled the twelve-year-old by his hands and dragged him away………
(Second part coming soonest…..)