Five-year-old Surjeet hates summer and hopes to stay somewhere apart from his 8X10 feet room in Block 28 of Trilokpuri. Surjeet, the youngest in the family of five, loves fruit juices and other cold beverages, but often has to fight with his mother to get them.
His mother Mithilesh (24) and father Sheeshpal (28) managed to buy an air cooler for the kids this year. However, a cooler is a luxury for Sheeshpal, who works as a tailor and earns a meagre Rs 4,500 per month.
“We manage to send kids to school and provide them a proper diet from my income. Owning a house or having the luxury of eating out sometimes with family members is a distant dream,” said Mithilesh, who is a Class 6 passout. She rues the fact that her husband never went to a school, which she says resulted in the family’s pitiable condition.
The parents, however, have not given up hope.
They continue with their effort of sending their kids to school and make them attend Balwadi, an activity centre for primary and middle school kids, run by NGO Pratham and funded by the Hindustan Times. The parents hope that helps in improving their life condition.
“I do not want them to miss out a single day of school and Balwadi, where they are learning good habits and etiquettes, something that we missed,” said Mithilesh, who sends Dhruv (7), Neha (6) and Surjeet (5) to a school run by Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) in Block 32 of Trilopuri.
“We will someday land a job that pays us good money, more than what my father makes. Then we will not rush to our neighbour’s place to request them to keep cold drink bottles in their refrigerator,” said Dhruv, who added that he loved to go to school as it had colourful swings.