Petrol is essential to keep an automobile running. But it has become quintessential to the survival of eight-year-old city boy Sajid.
Such is Sajid's addiction to petrol that he loses his temper and becomes restless if he is not served his favourite drink - petrol- at least once a day. Sajid's craving for petrol can be gauged from the fact that on any given day, he gulps down two to two-and-a-half litres of petrol. This unique feature has earned him the tag of 'Petrol Boy'.
Sajid is so addicted to it that he often stands outside his house and requests every passer-by for a few litres of petrol.
Son of a vegetable vendor of Coolie Bazar, Musharraf, the boy keeps himself aloof from other children of his age. He prefers isolation rather than the company of friends.
Sajid's uncle Mohammed Farooq said his nephew was addicted to petrol since the age of three. "Sajid becomes dull and gloomy the day he does not get to drink petrol," Farooq said. He added that at times the boy also got restless and enraged when he did not get his share.
"Sajid is fond of many things which children of his age eat, but petrol is his first choice," Farooq revealed. According to Sajid's neighbours, his addiction had increased to such an extent that he often drinks petrol directly from the petrol pipes of motorcycles parked on the roads. To check Sajid from stealing petrol in such a manner, his parents often confine him to the house.
Addiction to petrol has muffled Sajid's voice and stunted his physical growth. But a desperate Sajid often strays to other nearby areas looking for petrol.
Sajid's elder brothers Pervez and Junaid said a slip had been hanged around his neck bearing his name and address.
This had been done to ensure that Sajid could get back home safely if he strays to far off localities, Pervez added. Initially, there was some resentment against Sajid in the area but now people have started sympathising with him.
Sajid's mother Nagina said their neighbours, Nafis and Mohammed Wajid, were the first to complain about his habit of stealing petrol and drinking it.
"Just after sunset, each member of the family gets worried about Sajid and tries to make sure that he doesn't wander away in search of petrol," Nagina added.