An ‘Independence Day’ Poem To The Young Girl Who Served Me At A Restaurant

Posted by Gurleen Gill in #TheInvisibles
August 15, 2017
STC logoEditor’s Note: With #TheInvisibles, Youth Ki Awaaz and Save the Children India have joined hands to advocate for the rights of children in street situations in India. Share your stories of what you learned while interacting with street children, what authorities can do to ensure their rights are met, and how we can together fight child labour. Add a post today!

Severus Snape, a character in the “Harry Potter” series, once said to Harry, “It may have escaped your notice, but life isn’t fair.”

“Harry Potter” may be fictional – but how true these words are for millions of children in India! As India celebrates its 70th Independence Day, they are still waiting for the day when they won’t sleep feeling hungry, when they will return from school and teach their parents the poems and new words they learn.

August 15 is just another day for them – the only difference is that they hope to earn a little more by selling Indian flags that day. Why do millions of children starve, remain uneducated and do not have access to good medical facilities, seven decades after independence? Have we become so inhuman that we do not feel the pain of people living under poverty line?

The reasons which make five-year-old children work are enough to shame humanity. There can be no horror equivalent to watching kids looking for food in wastes and garbage. The cruelty shown towards them in restaurants is indescribable and cannot be justified.

The innocence of these children is lost by the time privileged children learn to recite “Twinkle, twinkle, little star”.

Our freedom fighters did not sacrifice their lives for such a country.

My heart started aching,
My hands started shaking,
When I was offered a cup of tea
By a girl even younger than me.

She was wearing a frock
And she hardly walked.
I was just staring at her.
Who made her work?
And how cruel they were!

Someone gave her a tip.
Scared of her master,
She added it to the bill.
I wished to ask her name,
But felt ashamed
Of the status and fame.
But she was detached
From this bloody fame game.
She needed money to live
And that was her sole aim.

She seemed to be loyal,
She seemed to be honest
To her cruel master.
How her parents tolerated this –
I couldn’t understand.
Or was it need of the hour?
Or had she none on this insane land?

I was about to cry,
When my father paid the bill.
I wanted to run away
From my old pastime stay.
What for is the Constitution?
What for is this law?
If, for them to be free –
There’s no way.

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Image used for representative purposes only.

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