Turning scars into starsFor the past few years, every day had been an uphill struggle for Sita to survive. But never did she think of giving up.
"Aama, why don't we have a home like the others? Why do we sleep out on the street under the naked sky even though it is so cold?" asked eight-year-old Hirendra to his mother Sita.
Hearing his questions broke Sita’s heart. She felt hot tears brimming in her eyes but she managed to suppress them. She replied, "Babu, you are too small to understand our destiny. The only thing you should understand for now is that you need to persevere and work hard towards turning your scars into stars. Stay true to your goals, be honest to them or harsher days will come."
Every day, for the past few years, had been an uphill struggle for Sita to survive. But never did she think of giving up. Every day, she would accept any challenge life threw at her and work for her and her children. She would always see the silver lining in every dark cloud.
And because she was aware of the fact that education is a must to live a good life, she began to send Hirendra to a government school.
With Hirendra at school, Sita would beg for alms from morning to evening on the street with her daughter, a two-year-old baby. Some of the people passing them by would turn a deaf ear to her grievance, some of them would pass by spitting and kicking them. Only a few kind-hearted people would give them some charity with which they would live. The three of them would huddle together into a single sack and spend cold nights. But their shelter at a corner below the Bagmati Bridge was not safe at all. Sometimes rain would send them searching for a new place, sometimes they would be displaced by the authorities. There were also times when stray dogs would cruelly attack them in the middle of the night. Poor Sita had no option rather than to tolerate them all.
Life was tough on young Hirendra too, despite his mother's attempts to shield him from the world’s cruelty. The boy’s day would begin with dawn and end very late every night. The chilly winter-wind, the scorching summer-sun, the torrential rain, the whirlpool and thunderstorm, hunger and starvation all were his intimate friends. Besides giving his mother a hand in the morning and evening, he would spend his day sincerely architecting his destiny in school. Amidst the incredible scarcities, his extraordinary performance in his studies would impress and surprise everyone.
But nights would be the toughest for the child. Going to bed with his mother and two-year-old sister on an empty stomach on some days would tug at his heart. Time and again his mother's advice echoed in his mind, particularly whenever he was about to be swayed by bad influence. "Only if you honestly study with perseverance can we be rescued from this misery," his mom often told him.
Despite being so young, he understood well what the situation his family was going through. And he was determined to one day turn his destiny upside down for his family through his honest perseverance.
And Hirendra's performance at school assured everyone that he would do well in life. But, on the other hand, his friends on the streets would be very annoyed with him for not following their path. Many often tried to influence him to follow their ways of living, of stealing, smoking and using drugs, but he never drifted towards their track. They would tear his books and copies and beat him black and blue. But Hirendra continued in his struggle to achieve his mission undisturbed. As a result, he got his hard-work paid off. His dream came true when eventually joined the civil service after completing his studies.
Highly responsible and with a dashing character, Hirendra quickly rose through the ranks. Soon, he became a chief administrator. His mother Sita was overwhelmed, as she had never imagined that her son could have obtained that much height in his career so quickly.
But with the job came mounting pressure of responsibilities to bring everything into a system. His designated area was in a complete mess, full of corruption, anarchism, nepotism, favoritism, deformities etc. But he had ways out to each of the issues that he could implement one by one. He began to deliver based on priorities.
Of course, the issue of street children was one of his priorities, as he could feel the children’s miseries and agonies. He had seen the country's bright future upon the success of their rescue but ignoring the issue would tarnish the image of the city no matter how much developments you would make in the rest of the sectors.
"My heart pounds violently, my whole body shakes with trepidation and eyes grow tearful when I think of my childhood. Street children have a voice nobody has heard of so far," Hirendra told his mother one day.
To which his mother promptly replied, “The only thing you should understand for now is that you need to persevere and work hard towards turning your scars into stars.”
Hirendra found a new purpose again.