New Delhi, Feb 23: While Danny Boyle's Slumdog Millonaire has received a mixed response of both appreciation and outrage in India for showing the life of slum children, there are many children in this part of the world for whom being a slum kid is just a way of life.
Fifteen-year-old Mehboob has no regret for not being sent to school by his family. He is happy that he is earning a livelihood out of collecting garbage from colleges in Delhi University's north campus, opposite to the Law Faculty.
Murtaza, his eight-year-old brother, helps him to collect and bring the garbage from colleges on a rickshaw. The duo dumps the collection at a specific dumping corner on the road side. They segregate the useful things like plastic or glass bottles or other stuff and carry them back home located in Bhalaswa J J Colony.
Their father, a junk seller, sells off those belongings to other shops. The hardship of these two little brothers contributes rupees 100-150 to the family income everyday. And, they are happy helping to their poor parents at such a young age.
Mehboob tells that it all started after he developed a friendly relation with one sweeper appointed for maintaining cleanliness on the road near the Faculty of Arts. "After a few days of initial interaction, I asked him to allow me to chose things from his daily garbage collection dumped here. He readily allowed me.
For giving me this opportunity, I volunteered for him to collect garbage and do the sweeping on the road at time whenever he wants me too. I do it approximately 8-10 days a month when he is unwell." Sending the younger brother to school never suited the family, as during off days they prefer visiting their original home in Kolkata's Madnipur area.
"During holidays, we prefer visiting relatives in Kolkata with family. Besides, the daily earning here is a big satisfaction. That's why neither I felt like attending school nor sending Murtaja, my little brother, to any school."