The Newspaper Seller

Priyadarshini | 09-Dec-2016

"Just for Rs.5, just for Rs.5, refresh your minds with the spiciest news of the day. You will be pleased on this pleasant morning. Revive and refresh your minds."

The Newspaper Seller

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This was my daily routine. I am not saying, I loved my job. But I had to do it out of compulsion as I had no other option. I had to feed myself and for that, I had to earn. Sometimes, I would just get fed up of standing on the roadside and struggle to sell the newspaper. Sometimes people would buy it and sometimes, busy in their own rush, would simply ignore my existence. My life held a strange irony. I used to sell what's happening around the world but I was unaware of my own world.

Every morning, I would see little girls in school uniform and curse my fate. I wished to have the privilege to dress like them in school uniform and go to school. But these dreams were at bay. I was deprived of all the good opportunities in my life. I would also observe everyone, going to their office with their car. I would think to myself how difficult and competitive their job was. But I wanted to shout, scream my throat out and tell the world, that even my job of selling the newspaper was not easy. In fact it was more difficuilt than them. I had no leaves, no sundays, no holidays. whether it was rainy, foggy or a very scortching sunny day, I had to come out to sell the newspapers. I had my own struggles with my job. it made me quite insecure, as I used to be surrounded by a bunch of cheap boys on the roadside. They would stare at me with lusty eyes and make me feel nude for a moment. They would also pass filthy and lewd comments at me. And if all these were not enough, they would harass me in bollywood style by singing old hindi songs.

I was also the victim of improper touch every day. After suffering all of these, I used to get frustrated and ask myself several questions. What am I supposed to do? Should I quit my job? Well, that was not possible. Money is important to survive and this was the only way, I could earn money.

"Ma'm, please buy my newspaper," I said as I knocked the window panes of her car. She was a fair, intelligent looking young lady. I had no buyers that day. It was an unlucky day for me and she seemed interested to read and so I approached her.

"Ma'm, please take it. I had no buyers today." She slowly rolls down the window panes of her car and bought my newspaper. I felt glad about the little penny in my hand. She quickly uplifted her glasses.

Just then,the traffic signal showed a green light and I was crushed under a bike while I was crossing the road.

I woke up directly on the hospital bed. I was reviving my lost senses. as I slowly managed to open my eyes with blurry vision, the first thing which I saw was a lady sitting, right in front of me. I immediately recognised her face. Oh! god! she was the same lady who bought the newspaper from me, just prior to the accident.

Next thing, I noticed was, I could not move my right leg. it had been fractured during the accident. the nurse had done the dressing and I was in immense pain.

Several questions, arose in my mind, 'Who would pay the expenses of my treatment?' 'Will I able to walk again?' 'Will I be able to sell the newspaper with this condition?' etc etc...There were numerous questions revolving around me.

"Don't worry! You will be absolutely fine. I am there for you" I returned back to my senses from the world of my questions as soon as she said this.

"What exactly happened, ma'm. I do not remember anything. please tell me. I asked her with utter curiosity and impatience.

"You met with an accident,dear and then I brought you here. Do not think anything. Do not stress yourself. I will manage everything. you just take restEverything will be fine." she said this with a gentle smile on her face.

Meanwhile, the doctor entered with a huge prescription of medicines whose prices touched the sky and was out of imagination for me to pay.

I was a girl coated with a lot of self-respect. I could not hold the burden of her favour. so I finally, told her "ma'm, I would be forever grateful to you, for what you have done for me. but now, I cannot take your favour anymore.

"It's okay, dear. It's not a big deal. Please do not feel this way. As I told you earlier, please do not stress yourself by over-thinking. Just take rest."

I did not realise when I fell fast asleep. I was tired and hurt a lot. next morning, as I opened my eyes, I saw her with a bouquet of flowers in her hand.

"Good morning,dear! There's a good news for you. Now you don't have to be in this hospital anymore. You are discharged." She said as she offered me those lovely flowers.

"I will take you to my place, you can stay there until the time you recover, and please do not say 'no.' I wanted to object and reject her proposal, but could not. I do not know why? May be because she was so kind hearted or may be because I was receiving this kind of attention from someone, for the first time. Whatever the reason, I agreed to go with her.

Meanwhile, she completed all the formalities and then she took me to her place in her car. I was enjoying the drive. It was my first experience of sitting in a car and I had never thought of getting an opportunity of travelling in a car.

"What is your name?" she asked, while I was lost in my thoughts.

"I do not have a name?" I cried

"Oh! why is it so?' she exclaimed

"Well, I lost my parents ten years back, when i was just three years old. They died out of tuberculosis, which was rapidly multiplying those days and took millions of life. I don't even remember their faces properly. My fate changed the day, they had left me, all alone in this big, unknown world from then, I have been selling newspapers in order to survive. God has been cruel to me." I narrated my little stories, with tears rolling down my eyes.

She listened to my words very keenly. She looked at me with deep, intense and sympathetic eyes and was so emotional that she could not even speak a word. By then, we had reached her place. she parked her car aside in the garage and I kept gazing at her lawn and the gardens full of beautiful and colourful flowers which were so mesmerising. Her little house was painted with a blend of smooth creams and yellow colour. deep down, I too had had the desire of living such a luxurious life. But never expressed it out.

"Come inside," she said. I went inside and she quickly showed me, my room and then headed towards her own room to freshen up herself.

The inner scenario of her room was exceptionally commendable and breath-taking. I felt quit privileged on receiving this opportunity to glance at those amazing things. Her house had  beautiful, ancient paintings and antique statues. There was also a huge library at her house which comprised a variety of books on different subjects. They were kept in a well-organised manner in their respective shelves.

She was very kind and had become my role model. I used to love and even imitate her dressing style which was the Indian 'kurti' with the western 'jeans.' I just loved that fusion. She used to live all alone and took care of everything. She also took care of me, entirely while I was recovering by offering me tasty vegetable soups, salads, fruits and medicines on proper time.

Soon, I discovered that she was a professor. On receiving this knowledge, I started respecting her twice more than I did before. In the morning, she would leave for college and after coming back, she would just sit with her books, study and compose poems.

One fine morning, when I was trying to stand on my foot, she came inside my room and said "please, do not go away even after you recover. You have really become special for me. From today, you will be my little sister and yes! never say that you do not have a name. I give you a name today, and that is 'Priya.' now, everyone will know you by the name 'Priya.'

Priya, I think you should join school and study, like all the girls of your age, do. I won't let you go back into the newspaper selling job again."

I felt so overwhelmed on hearing her words. It seemed as if god had knocked on my door. It was true that while staying with her, I had inculcated an interest for studying and she seemed like god's angel who has come to the earth, just to help me.

From the next day, I was sent to school. It was like a dream come true!

"And what happened next mother," I asked eagerly.

"And then, there was no looking back" she answered with a gentle smile on her face.

She further added "I continued to study further and became a successful teacher, which I am even today. I also discovered a new talent on this journey and that was the talent of writing and yes! I do scribble sometimes. when I look back, I thank that lady from all my heart. For if she would not have been there, then I would not have been able to provide you with the luxuries, which you have.

The Newspaper Seller

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Every girl should earn her dignity through her hard work and determination. I have earned mine. now, it is your turn, my dear daughter."

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of The writers are solely responsible for any claims arising out of the contents of this article.
About the Author
Prajna Priyadarshini Pathak hails from Assam, India. She uses her pen name 'Priyadarshini' while writing. She is an undergraduate student pursuing her bachelor's in political science. She loves writing poems, short stories and articles. She is also a blogger and contributes regularly to her blog. Her blog contains mostly poems.