“It very wonderful. I wake up before sunrise. The birds start chirruping. With the first rays of sun, I walk to fields with tea and biscuit for daddy in my bag. There be dew on the grass, catching the sun rays and splitting them into colors. The paddy crops lull nice in the morning breeze. There be birds in the corn field also. Daddy start the water pump and I sit with legs immersed in the cold water in the water channels. It all so nice and beautiful. But…”
“I don’t know. It only feel very terrible. It feel like the sky falling. But angry, I don’t know. What would have mom do anyway. I was nine then. It not rain that year. Our crops fail. My small brother sick. And mother expecting another baby. What else they do? There no food home. The money lender wont lend daddy any money. There nothing home to sell at the pawn shop. Brother need medicine. And mother all the more need food. They sell me I didn’t know then for how much. But madam keep telling me again again. She say. ‘2000 rupees, we spend 2000 rupees and all we get is burden. Cant you do work properly you lazy goose?!’ But I work very hard. But madam still scold. Guess I don’t do that good.”
Is it bad in here?
“No. I don’t know. I like don’t complain. I can’t. To whom I would, you tell me. But I get so little to eat. I go to sleep hungry every night. I always hungry. Two slices of bread and one cup of milk in the morning. A small bowl of rice with sambar in the noon. And one chappati in the night. I don’t get sleep well in the night. The kitchen floor, it hot in the night and mosquitoes bite. And it smells. But I don’t complain. I hear my stomach rumble in night. I feel cold too. Then I drink two glass of water and lie down to sleep again. It not nice. But at least, it’s something.”
Do they treat you well?
“I don’t know. I get two pairs of cloth every year. So by the end of each year, my cloth like torn rags. But master buy me needle and thread to mend. They say I mend good. When some guest come home, madam give me one nice cloth she keep inside in her box. She tell me to wear. I wear. I like that cloth. But when the guest leave, master ask me to wash that cloth and keep it back in box. She keep that box locked.”
Do they take you out?
“No. I came here when I nine. Now I fourteen. And these five years, I never seen anything outside. Sometimes I watch tv, sitting in a corner, seeing what the master and madam watch. Master tells I should not switch on tv. I will get shock and he will scold. So I don’t. But I see when master see tv. I like seeing tv. I also see outside the window in the kitchen. But madam say its bad habit. So I do that only when no one’s home.”
“Sometimes. Madam beat when I don’t do my work good. There is so much work every day. I tired. I drop things. Madam beat. I break thing, madam go very angry and beat. Madam say its only to make me good. That she helping me become better person when she beat me. But I think she beat me when she is angry from office or because master scold madam. She take it on me. I don’t tell her this. She will beat me more. I fear. But I think it is like this only. One day, madam was not home. Master was drinking. He ask me to dance. I dance. I don’t know to dance. And I fear he beat me for dancing bad. But he say I dance good. I feel happy. Then he ask me sit near. Master and madam never let me sit on chair. But that night, master make me sit with him on sofa. He then touch me. He then touch my chest and my legs. I feel very afraid. I want to run. But I fear master beat me. I sit there only. I don’t breath. He drink more and fall sleep. I run to kitchen and closed door. He didn’t come.”
What they do when they have to go out?
“They lock me in with some packets of biscuit. Master and madam both work. I stay alone and do work at home all day. If they go out on holiday, they lock me in. They tell me not to make noise. They also tell me not to switch lights on. So I don’t. Sometimes food go empty. But madam and master dont return. I feel very hungry then. I drink water. Lot of water. And I sleep.”
Do you think all this is unfair to you?
“I don’t know what you ask. I only know that I not happy. And that is wrong.”
You ever tried to run from here?
“No. I don’t try that. Where I go? My mother and father, they sell me. I don’t know where they are. I find them and go to them, they only sell me again. And I don’t know anyone else. I run away, I don’t get to eat even what I get here then.”
You believe in god?
“what is that?”
You ever feel there is some purpose to all of this? That it all has happened with a reason? And that someday it will all become all happy and nice again?