Chances are that 19-year-old Pappu Kumar has never heard of a sitcom called Friends. Yet, this teenager who lives on the pavement opposite Ruia College, symbolises all that the word stands for.
Like many others, Kumar, the son of a UP farmer, came to Mumbai, looking for work. “I never wanted to work in my father’s fields. Here, I am on my own.”
Kumar, who came to Mumbai about two years ago, works at a private firm as a canteen boy, earning Rs 1,500. More than a month ago, his friend Hasim, 21, fell from a tree, dislocating his thighbone and had to be hospitalised for a month.
Like Kumar, Hasim too is a migrant and lives on the pavement. Seeing there was no one to care for him, Kumar stopped going to work so that he could tend to Hasim.
Kumar hopes his boss will take him back. The census means little to him.
“I’m glad the government has noticed that our pavements are flooded with people like me, who have nowhere to go. Only if there was more concrete action from them...”