“I received money from one person after a whole day of begging. That was the first day of my life, I begged to feed myself. I was starving for two days that time. After receiving the money, I sat beside the street and cried. I was eleven years old. In a day, I had become a beggar from a child. I felt like running away; I wanted to forget that I begged people. But then again I begged the next day and continued for months. I was not a child anymore and I was not feeling good anymore. People started calling me a beggar and if someone asked me who I was, I easily told them I was a beggar. I was no longer a child for anyone; I was a nagging beggar. I stopped laughing because no one gave money to a happy child. I learned I had to make a sad face to earn. I stopped looking above and I only looked at my feet. I felt bad, every day I felt bad. But I knew no work and I had no place to go.
In the area I was begging, there was the toothless old man named Kashem Miah. His age was 90. I saw him fixing shoes and laughing all the time. One day, in the morning, I went near to him, saw how he was organising his things to start his work. I asked him how bad it felt to polish the shoes of others, at such an age, as he was like a grandfather to everybody. The toothless Kashem Miah laughed loudly but did not reply to me. He only told me I should learn the work from him. I was surprised and refused to be a cobbler. I was kind of angry and left him. But that same day again I went there and followed him to his home. I have learned everything from the old man. He gave me things to work and at the first day of my work, he was very sick. I was too afraid of this new work. Kashem Miah held me in his arms for some time and told me, ‘Bijoy, if you do honest work, good work, you will never feel bad, you will always feel right. If you feel bad, you must be doing something wrong’. Last 44 years of my life, I suffered from poverty, hunger and need but I never felt bad, I never felt wrong again.”
– Bijoy Das (55)
I received money from one person after whole day of begging. That was the first day of my life, I begged to feed myself….
Story By – GMB Akash
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