Rabi delivers our newspaper every morning at our doorsteps. When I come back from my morning walk I often meet him. He is a cheerful boy who never fails to greet me with a smile.
“Good morning Didi (elder sister). How are you?” he says on sighting me. Sometimes our conversation extend a bit further than the casual greetings.
Rabi’s family consists of his mother and him. His mother works as a maid-servant in different houses in our locality. She starts working from six o’clock in the morning and comes back home at twelve, does her own cooking for the day ; has lunch and then resumes working from three o’clock in the afternoon till six o’clock in the evening. This is her daily rigorous routine which she follows 365 days a year without a break. The only time this routine is violated is when she is unwell which doesn’t happen often. Her life story is a sad one. Her husband left her for another woman when Rabi was small. He just disappeared one day without any prior indication. Since then she has been fighting for her survival; refusing to be bogged down by the hands of fate. She left small Rabi at the care of her landlord, the owner of the slum she lives in while she attended her work. In spite of her hardships she never failed to smile through it all just like her son. When Rabi grew a little older she admitted him to a local school and he took to studies like a fish to water. He wasn’t a brilliant student but he was sincere and steadfast. Once he became a teenager he wanted to help his mother earn for a living. He couldn’t just watch her work so tirelessly and wanted earnestly to contribute to the family’s income. His mother tried to dissuade him at first but at last relented to his constant hankerings. From then onwards he became a newspaper boy delivering newspapers to every home in the neighborhood.
Rabi’s dedication and perseverance made him succeed his high school exams with considerable grades which allowed him to join a college with commerce. He came over to seek blessings from my father after joining college.
“Well done Rabi. What do you aim to do in life?” I had enquired.
“Someday I wish to get a good job like Dada(elder brother),” he replied referring to my brother who joined as a journalist in a leading newspaper then. “I want a secure future and to relieve my mother of her work. I want her to enjoy a relaxed old age and to make that happen I will do whatever it takes to achieve my goal.”
Rabi has now joined the police services as a sub-inspector of police. His mother has discontinued working as a maid-servant and dedicates her full time to look after her home and especially Rabi whom she clang on to as her only purpose in life to carry on living. But he hasn’t discontinued his duty as a newspaper boy in the morning. This job makes him remain grounded and never forget his past struggles in life.