Childhood memories are unique to each one of us. Nestled in the warmth and protection of our families, carefree pranks with friends, catching that morning bus for school, picnics and vacations, playing for relentless hours and many such experiences characterizes a typical childhood.
But for 13 year old Pinki, no such moments and memories ever existed… for hers is a life born in one of the unknown streets of Delhi and she had been living there ever since she gained her senses.
She used to live outside Bangla Sahib Gurudwara with her parents and siblings. Street was their home. Life was very harsh, there was no one single place to seek refuge and every other day they would move from one street to the other. Life was enveloped by fear in manifold forms, sometimes the fury of each season would unleash upon them, threat of eviction accompanied like a shadow and more often than not they would bid goodbye to a day with hungry stomach underneath the open sky. They were living in inhospitable situations with no provisions for privacy, safety as such was a luxury. The sanitation situation in the street was pathetic and health and hygiene was severely impacted. To make the situation worse, police atrocities were a regular story. Police harassed them day and night, their food and utensils were thrown out and they would not let them sleep. It was hard for them to explain their condition to the police and would just bear it in silence.
The family’s condition further worsened when Pinki’s father fell from a train and injured his leg severely; he is no longer able to walk without any support. It seemed life was hurling one blow after the other at them, following her father’s situation, her sister also met with an accident. Even after two surgeries and repeated checkups and treatments the younger sister’s bruise did not seem to be healing.
Whatever little savings the family had was all getting fast depleted and each day seemed to be darker than the other. However, during one of the night vigils, one of the members from the CityMakers team happened to notice the family and on enquiry their difficult condition came to the fore. Immediately Pinki along with her mother and two siblings was shifted to the shelter home run by IGSSS for the homeless women and children in Regarpura. Pinki’s father however chose to stay on the streets.
Pinki now no longer lives in panic, in her new haven she greets each day with laughter and hope. As she also started going to school, somewhere in the core of her, a dream little by little is getting knitted.