15 of our favourite little humans of 15’

Little humans brought to us stories that encapsulate childhoods of children in India! From their favourite cricketer, plans for summer holidays, life as child labourers, on the streets or in the Spiti valley to difficulties with their disabilities, these little humans reiterate that sometimes the littlest people have the biggest stories to tell! Here’s presenting Leher’s favourite #littlehumans of 2015!!

Photo: Nipa Bhansali, 15 of our favourite little humans of 15’ | Leher NGO in India | Child Rights Organization
Photo: Anushka Patel

“Is there anything that scares you?” “Well I’m scared of half my friends and the other half are scared of me!” “Are the bhai of Grant Road?” “You can call me, ‘Virar Road ka bhai!’” “Are any of your friends here with you?” “No. I am katti with my friends now because they gave me gaali. They called me maadarchod so we don’t talk anymore.”

Photo: Anushka Patel, 15 of our favourite little humans of 15’ | Leher NGO in India | Child Rights Organization
Photo: Anushka Patel

“Bole toh, main Salman Khan, Yeh Shahrukh Khan!”

Photo: Anushka Patel, 15 of our favourite little humans of 15’ | Leher NGO in India | Child Rights Organization
Photo: Anushka Patel

“I want to be a banker. No, actually, I want to be like papa and open a jewellery shop. No, wait, please change my answer – I want to be a footballer.”

Photo: Anushka Patel, 15 of our favourite little humans of 15’ | Leher NGO in India | Child Rights Organization
Photo: Anushka Patel

“What do you want to do when you grow up?” “I want to be a soldier and protect the country.” “Do you have a message for people out there who will see your interview?” “Live in peace.”

Photo: Vanika Achreja, 15 of our favourite little humans of 15’ | Leher NGO in India | Child Rights Organization
Photo: Vanika Achreja

“We play cricket here everyday.” “But only on this side. Because the older kids play on the other side.” “They don’t let us play with them.” “But we don’t care, we play here anyway!” “Because we’re better than them.”

Photo: Shrey Jani, 15 of our favourite little humans of 15’ | Leher NGO in India | Child Rights Organization
Photo: Shrey Jani

“Katrina se shaadi karega!”

Photo: Anushka Dalal, 15 of our favourite little humans of 15’ | Leher NGO in India | Child Rights Organization
Photo: Anushka Patel

“The police just extorted 3000 rupees from me.”

Photo: Jaisal Kapoor
Photo: Jaisal Kapoor

“Do you like the rain?” “Yes, I love it!” “How much?” “This much!” (smiles at camera) “What do you do in the rain?” “We sing Shah Rukh Khan songs.”

Photo: Anushka Dalal
Photo: Anushka Dalal

“What are you both going to be when you grow up?” “I’m going to be a police officer when I grow up.” “Wow!” “And I’m going to join the Navy.” he adds. “No no he’s going to be a police officer too!” “We’ll protect each other.” “And everyone else also.”

Photo: Anushka Dalal
Photo: Anushka Dalal

“You look very dressed up, where are you coming from?”

“My relative’s wedding.”

“Do you like weddings?” “No, I don’t even like my relatives! But there was free food, so its okay.”

Photo: Shrabani Dash & Arpan Vadhera
Photo: Shrabani Dash & Arpan Vadhera

“Where are you coming from?” “I went to get a packet of milk.” “Why are you wearing a mask? “I don’t want my identity to be disclosed, because carrying ‘mummy ke orders’ is a confidential task. My friend Batman has also taught me that while doing a good deed, wear a mask!” “Do you do this everyday?” “Yes..almost! But noone understands how difficult it is. You gotta save the milk from unseen dangers like random doggies who want to drink it and the chance of the milk spilling over where giant black cars with yellow stripes rule the road!” “Haha! Don’t most people wonder why you’re wearing a mask?” “Grown ups have such an illogical way of thinking sometimes…! They think I have some disease because I’m wearing a mask. Can’t they see I’m a superhero like Batman who delivers milk for Maa? Ok! I’m in a rush, I have to deliver this to Maa!”

Photo: Puja Bhawal & Dennis Konjengbam, 15 of our favourite little humans of 15’ | Leher NGO in India | Child Rights Organization
Photo: Puja Bhawal & Dennis Konjengbam

“Where do you live?” “Down the road…with my aunty.” “Where are your mummy and daddy?” “They passed away when I was small. My aunt won’t tell me how.” “What do you want to do on your holiday?” “I play football all day.” “What would you like to be when you grow up?” “An awesome footballer like Messi. I have 3 jerseys with ‘MESSI’ written at the back!”

Photo: Anushka Dalal
Photo: Anushka Dalal

“What is your name?” “R-A-J Raj.” He writers on Shamim teacher’s palm. “How old are you?” “Yesterday was my birthday. I had cake and balloons. And the balloon went ‘bhuuuummm!’” “But you didn’t answer my question Raj!” she smiles understanding his disinterest in the question. “Raj is 8 years old.” she answers as he looks away into the distance. “Which is your favourite chocolate?” “This one!” he points to his pocket. “Raj is going to share the chocolate with everyone today, isn’t he? *He gives her the chocolate with a huge grin on his face* “No no its okay you only have it.” she teases him “Isn’t chocolate bad for your teeth? Show us how many teeth you have!” *He grins widely to show his teeth* “Where do you live?” “In the hostel.” “Who do you miss the most?” “My mother.” *He opens his family book and points at his brother’s photo joking that it is his mother*

Photo: Deepti Asthana, 15 of our favourite little humans of 15’ | Leher NGO in India | Child Rights Organization
Photo: Deepti Asthana

On an early morning in Dhankar, a village in the Spiti valley of the Himalayas, the sun was up behind the misty mountains and the air was crisp, when I met Jitu, a little shepherd boy. The dew drops glistened in the soft sunlight as Jitu tried his best to herd his sheep, while also imitating their sounds. “Jackie! Sunny!”, called out Jitu. “Who are you calling out to?” I asked. He laughed uncontrollably and said, “I have named my favourite sheep after Bollywood filmstars!” Accompanied by his father each morning, grazing his herd of mountain sheep is a daily chore for Jitu. In Spti, animals are one of the primary sources of income, as agriculture is scarce at high altitudes. Jitu was very quiet and shy, perhaps because his father was with us. Most of my curious questions on their lives were answered by Jitu’s father. But when I asked “What do you want to study?”, Jitu immediately replied saying “I want to be a children’s doctor!” At first I was a little surpised at his specific interest in treating children, but his father read my inquisitve face and said “Jitu’s little brother has polio and cannot walk. In the remote areas of Spiti getting proper treatment is very difficult. It gets worse in winters as most of the villages lose road connectivity and in urgent situations a patient has to be very lucky to be airlifted by the government to reach a hospital. Air rescues are rare. For most people it’s either an ardous journey on foot or a painful wait for months before they can reach the nearest town andreally hope Jitu grows to be a doctor.”

Photo: Deepti Asthana
Photo: Deepti Asthana

In the famous Malala village, I entered a shop to buy some chocolates. “Ma’am, you shouldn’t step inside the shop. Please wait outside,” said the teenager manning the shop, rather sternly. “Is there a problem?” I asked, stunned by his unwelcoming words. “We are kings, therefore, only Rajputs are considered our equals and can enter”, he replied. Malana claims to be a ‘free village’ in India run by its own rules. I decided to not mull too much over this incident and walked on towards a group of children. A little girl smiled at me when she saw the chocolates in my hand. I smiled back relieved that at least some children were oblivious of my ‘outsider’ status. But I smiled too soon… she was telling me to put the chocolate on the ground with her little finger. I complied and placed some chocolates on the ground, to see her grab it gleefully. Even before she started to eat it, her older brother came out and scolded her for taking chocolates from an outsider. I realised that while untouchability might be abolished from other parts of the country, in free Malana, it was visibly alive. The next generation were raised to take it forward.

Photo Credits : Deepti Asthana

Words By : Leher

Leher

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