A small boy stops at your car

Squints through the sun

As he asks you to lower your window.


Some click their tongues with frustration

Tap the window to drive the children away

Maybe their excuse is that they don’t have short change

Or maybe they feel too elitist and ‘clean’

To engage with the ‘filth of the streets’

That is when you need to ask

‘for all we can say,

The coins in your pocket

Might have come to circulation

From the boys who beg on the street’


But they don’t like those questions

Questions that will make them realize

That their expensive dreams

Bankrupt these children

And put them on the road

In the first place’


You see this happen

The tapping and the frowning

And the boys trying to speak

Over the noise of the engine.

You also notice something the older boy does

He makes his younger brother look ahead for cars

While he slips a two-rupee coin

From his pockets to the bowl


You watch as the eyes

Of the younger brother

Gleam with their ‘success’


You see the children

Looking at their 5-rupee coins in awe

For those are the

‘gold coins’ of the rags.


Now they come to you

Tap on your window


Will you look at their eyes?

And the creases around it

Spider webs of laughter,

Will you now remember your children?

And notice that the difference is that

Your children have something called a childhood

While these children have lost it.


Or will you look into their eyes

And see their unkempt hair

And dirt-stained cheeks

And think to yourself

‘oh, this is unsanitary!’


Nandhitha Babuji is a 18-year-old aspiring poet from Tamil Nadu, passionate about using her words to show solidarity against children’s issues.