It was a sunny Saturday afternoon when I met a cute little girl, named Jyoti on the streets of DN Nagar in Mumbai. She was wearing a simple salwar suit and had tied her hair properly and the nose ring went well with the look. She was busy selling pens and then she saw me and asked me to buy one. I was busy on a call and I avoided her, I immediately turned behind and looked at her for a while and made a move to offer her INR 10 instead. She took the money but insisted me to take the pen as well and when I didn’t agree to take one she still insisted. Well, that was something that just attracted me more towards the kid, she was genuine.
I then thought of talking more with her. I got her some food from an outlet at the metro station. While I was getting food, she asked me if she can have a Pepsi too and I got her one. This made me think of the desires each kid has and what it feels like when you can’t afford it! We talked about her life and routine and she opened up about the struggles she faces. Jyoti starts her day without having breakfast and rushes to the signal to sell the pens until late afternoon and she skips her lunch too as she has to achieve her target of INR 200 a day.
Jyoti was passionate about education and she also got into DN Nagar municipal school but she left the school because boys sexually harassed her.
She said, “Boys used to harass me a lot in the school and that’s why me and mother decided that I should stop going to school from now.”
Is India really working on issues related to women? Is feminism an overstatement? Is #MeToo a joke? A girl is getting molested in a school in a metro city, Mumbai and nothing has been done with regards to it. How careless is the school authority! It’s a matter of concern and none is speaking about it.
The story doesn’t end here, Jyoti then tried to get the education at Jalgaon, her native place but the post-traumatic stress disorder haunted her. She now thinks of getting some education but can’t afford to do that considering her financial situation.
She said, “If I will go to school then who will earn?” She lost her father at an early age and her mother is a trash picker.
I am still wondering the amount of pressure she has to live with but she smiles off! There are many such Jyotis here in the world, I just narrated one of the stories. There are many who are getting molested and harassed daily. If we don’t change, we might get a future that is worse than this is.