At the age of seven most boys are carefree, full of pranks -- and go to school. But Govinda of Sonepur village in Saran district of Bihar is not that lucky.
Fate and a callous father have been cruel to him. Govinda runs errands and takes up petty jobs not only to keep his body and soul together but also to feed and look after his two younger cousins — Pinky (3) and Sonu (5). Their parents passed away a couple of years ago. Govinda too lost his mother. As if this was not enough, Govinda’s father deserted him.
Instead of ruing his fate, the boy took his two cousins under his wings and turned into a ‘parent’ overnight.
This correspondent visited Govinda’s hut recently and found him making chapatis on an earthen chulha (stove). The room was full of acrid smoke as Govinda was using whatever was available to light up the chulha.
“I earn about Rs 35 to 40 a week,” he said. “I cannot go to school. If I do so, my brother and sister will starve. There is no one to look after them. “Some days we have to sleep on empty stomachs," Govinda said matter-of-factly.
The e plight of this ‘family’ is known to all in the village but no one has come forward to help. But Govinda carries on with his ‘duty’ in the hope that someday, someone.