Writing 101, Day 6: The space to write.

Kajari lives in a small room of a Kolkata slum that she shares with her elder sister and mother. She is only twelve, working as household help in different houses far from her locality. She is yet not able to take hard labours in mills like her sister and mother, so, they have found her homes where she could work as domestic help.

She does not mind working everyday as far as she could eat three times daily and play with her friends at evening. Sometimes, she also helps her mother in cooking at night just like her sister. Life is hard for them since her father left them eight years ago. They do not know why and their mother does not mind to tell them the reason.

She works in multiple households but she likes Chatterjee household the most. Mr. and Mrs Chatterjee are very nice people who pay her generously to take care of their child. She spends most of her day in their house. When Mr. and Mrs Chatterjee is out of home for office and their five years old kid ,Ishan returns from school, Kajari’s work starts. She has to bathe him and make him wear washed clothes. She has to feed him with the food Mrs Chatterjee made earlier in the morning. Then, she has to sit with him while he plays with his toys. When the play time is over, she has to again bring all his books and notebooks so that he can work on his home work from school. Once Mrs Chatterjee is back from office, she prepares tea and some snacks for the couple and then she leaves for her home.

She wakes up at midnight in their dark room. All of them are too tired after a hard day’s labour. She rises from her bed and silently walks towards the kitchen without disturbing anyone. She walks into the kitchen and carefully closes the door that separates the kitchen from their bedroom. She searches the matchbox with the help of dim streetlamp light piercing through the window pane of kitchen. She lights up the oil lamp and places it on the ground carefully. She takes out the notebook, pencil and alphabet book that Ishan gave to her.

She opens the book and starts writing on the notebook as instructed earlier by the five years old. She tries to copy the alphabets from the book with her shaken hands. Ishan told her that she would be able to write her name once she learns all these alphabets on the book.

She is hopeful, one day she will be able to read and write like Ishan does. The ambience is not at all co-operative for her dreams but her will power will make it possible for her. She keeps on writing for long time. The dimly lit kitchen space is her space to write.


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