The breeze slapped my face as I climbed up to the factory. The cotton leftover
entering my nostrils. The moist September air filled my lungs, I took one last breath and stepped into a big hall of noises. Click! Clak! Thump! Thump! Men and women running around everywhere. I looked to the right, where my spot stood lonely. All the other children had already started working. Manoj was there too.
“Anything new?” I walked over and asked him.
“Anything new!” Manoj replied sarcastically.
All of a sudden, I found myself between all the children. They were laughing and mocking at me.
“Anything new!” Manoj asked again.
“There hasn’t been anything new here since the first day you got this job.”
I gazed out of the window. I knew this too well. I wish there was something new. I looked enviously at the blue sky. Those clouds enjoyed freedom, and lived life with peace. And here I am, trapped inside this hell. I was so lost in my thoughts that I didn’t notice the silence around me. Neither did I hear the water droplets fall into the drain. Pure water dropping into dirt. Just like me. A pure soul dropped into hell. But my daydreaming couldn’t change a thing. We will never get paid more, or be able to have three meals everyday.
I was zapped out of my dreams when I saw a person limping towards me. It
was Mr. Aadwit, owner of this factory. In short, he is the boss here, and we are his slaves. He is very much like his name, unique. He thought those large, horrible, noise making machines were better than us. He thought those lumps of wood were needed more than us orphans. Whenever he buys a new one, it’s time for one of us to lose all hope. We get kicked out of work.
I cross my fingers. He just got a new machine yesterday. I find his thin face
pointing towards me. His sharp eyes burning my soul.
“Debu, please come with me.” A high pitch squeak came out.
I let go of my crossed fingers. There’s no use. I lost my job.
That night was a starless one. The thunder never stopped. I didn’t even need
to light a candle. My world was already full of darkness. I finally slept after midnight.
The morning was dull as well. The sun were covered by clouds. It was pretty foggy for a September morning. I walked out of a place I have known as home. I feel something under my feet. Just a scrap of paper. Then I look closely. The piece of paper said-
How could somebody throw this paper away. This could be it. This is what will lead me to the clouds. The day had become brighter. The clouds had left the sun, and continued moving around freely.
There was a huge uproar. Everyone holding big boards saying ‘No more
foreign cloth’. All of us were so cramped together, that I could smell the sweat of a man next to me. It seemed like he hadn’t taken a shower since the last rain. My head felt hot like a coin, left to the wrath of the sun. Oh! How I long to touch a coin. I feel a push on my back.
“Come on Debu, keep moving.” It was Manoj. He lost his job too.
The clouds roamed around freely as always. At least the sun was better than the dark and hollow rooms of the mill. This time the push was so hard, it almost knocked me down.
“Debashish, we don’t have all day. Move your butt, or we won’t be able to listen to the lecture.”
“Manoj…”, I began to complain.
But my voice was eaten under those of the protest. Suddenly, there was deadly silence. Not a single word. I knew what this meant. Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi had arrived, along with my path to the clouds.