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What should it be called? Child labour...prejudicial…or just poverty!

When I look to the west from my house rooftop, I can see a small factory, which directly faces the streets. It’s kind of an embroidering factory, where sarees are customized with pretty laces and colorful threads. The weird part is that it is filled with jute made beds and many young boys. If I have to give an actual description of it, I would not call it a factory at all though it does houses more than 20 people. I would rather call it a male breeding ground. I am not referring it to be as a repelling thought but it reminds me of this certain statement. This story might first seem to some as an uncensored truth but it’s as innocent as those who work there.
Now before anyone imagines otherwise and make judgments, let me tell you the real story behind my previous paragraph and why did I call it a male breeding ground. As I come back from work every day, I look at those innocent faces who work day and night on that bed embroidering the sarees. They do work day and night because I see the lights on even past midnight whenever I visit my rooftop at the times when I can’t sleep. My curiosity to that place always ends in children. There are to my knowledge three men, three ladies and whole bunch of boys. It’s not a hostel, they are not put by anyone, they are the children of the grown up who also happen to work there. It’s amazing how they can manage to produce so much boy child and not one girl. I always wondered why they didn’t have any girl. Well I was once convinced that they simply were lucky with male children. First let me give you a brief description of the factory, the grownups and the living standard of those people. Though I called it a factory, it does not exactly look like one. It’s a room where 5 beds could fit with the attached kitchen. Ignoring the sarcasm, what I mean to say is, the ways those people were living, a person living in this country would know how sad it is. It looks absolutely unhygienic, harsh and depressing. The beds are not for sleeping, it is there to get the work done. I mean they embroider the sarees on the beds all day. They take orders, they make tens of sarees in one day. They use a kind of a hammer and I have not seen those children without them. The children age ranges from 8 to 14 years old. The female number would not work but only make food. That’s what the quarter of the room is for. They cook meal and eat quietly, in the spot where they are working. On top of the numbers of children to feed, one female is a mother with big belly coming out of her dark purple saree which she wears every day. Alongside the working children, two of their sibling is not, might I add eligible. They play all day in the mud and sometime in front of my house with the other children during holidays. Though their factory is like an inch away from a public school, not one of them is educated.
One day my curiosity got the best of me and I walked slower than what my ability of slowness could contain. I watched the family thoroughly. I noticed the men wore only vests and dhoti (a kind of cotton wrapped around from their hips), women wore sarees and are near the kitchen all day. Children looked content on what they were working on. The picture made me believe that they were just unfortunate. They were no doubt poor, trying to survive and build their livelihood.. They are there to work and earn money. Why there are only boys and no girls is still a mystery for me. Whether they were taken away for marriages, since to those people, still a female child is a burden and is expendable; I am left with nothing but to wonder. It looks like a male breeding ground because I think to them producing a whole of male children, would earn them money. They somehow think that they can work tirelessly and without any girl, they don’t have to worry about giving dowries. I thought of cursing those grownups for making their children’s life as such. They could have gotten education, could have made their life even better but they were just caught in a sphere of destitution and no one could blame them.

Friends though my writings have become dull because of my busy schedule these days, I have simply forgotten to write well. This is all I could come up with! Bless all!


seleniecee's picture

A difficult journey

Thank you so much for sharing your story Tripti. As I was reading your words I could literally picture in my mind what you were describing so painfully and regretfully. That life is unimaginable to most Americans, and yet we play the largest role in making this condition one of reality for most of the world.

I am so bitter and angry over the notion that profits are more valuable than anything else. Profits are more valuable than our earth, her rivers, her soil; more valuable than the earth's amazing animal inhabitants; and obviously more valuable than our precious humans suffering around the globe. Every single day people participate in this system of capitalism and globalization. Ignorance is key - especially here in America. I would venture to guess that most Americans have no idea of the state of our "world community," as we are too busy trying to keep up with our standard of living, working multiple jobs and buying radio and cell phones for $5.00. In my opinion it is because of this very system that forces that family to work their small children endlessly in order to pay for the things they need. This dependency on capitalism fueled by oppression dictates the "choice" of sending a child to school or not, as well as keeping a family together in spite of gendered influence of which is more valuable "boy" or "girl."

I very much appreciated your time and thoughts - thank you for including us in your environment. These stories help to further influence my buying decisions in order to support my world community fight for economic equality. Until I can find a bigger solution, I will keep being that drop in the bucket, supporting and contributing to the cause in any way that I can.

Warm thoughts to you.


Tripti's picture

thank you for reading

Selena, thank you for reading my post. Your comment is thoughtful. I really appreciate you recognizing the need of those people and you are right, though unfortunately we can play no part in improving their livlihood, we can help them by supporting and contributing. Bless you!

Amei's picture

tough reality

Dear Tripti,

This is a moving post, thought provoking. It is beautifuly written and I can picture the environment in my mind. Hope life gets better in time :-)

Have a good day

Tripti's picture

thank you

thank you for the comment dear Amei...I also keep hoping!!

olutosin's picture

"Female infanticide and foeticide"

This is why we are calling on the world to find a lasting solution to abortion of females in the affected countries, I believe what that what you are seeing is the result of killing female, the missing girls in India and countries in South Asia are buried somewhere and I FEAR THAT ONE DAY MEN WILL BEGIN TO KILL THEMSELVES FOR LACK OF WIVES, THOSE OVERTLY JEALOUS CREATURES, APOLOGY TO GOOD MEN IN HOUSE.
We must address the issue of killing female and preserving the males for whatever wrong reasons.
Thanks so much for writing this piece.

Olutosin Oladosu Adebowale
Founder/Project Coordinator
Star of Hope Transformation Centre
512 Road
F Close
Festac Town


Tripti's picture

thank you readin

thank you for reading Olutosin. It is true that females are lure into doing many things and are taken god knows where but since i don't know anything about that factory, i can;t say the same about them. May be there were just sent to marry. Though i wouldn't jump to conclusion but i do hope that it is not what you said ... god bless you

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