The girl across the street is beaming,
Giving away smiles to the passers-by;
Her face is a black, brightened platter,
And her pupils,
Each as dark as her perspiring skin,
Resemble travellers in an ocean,
Only a few weeks ago, the girl was shedding tears,
Tears that could flood the street she’s now in;
Penniless, she was roaming the lanes,
Her mane more unkempt than a horse’s,
Walk an emu’s,
Talk likened to that of a madman.
But now, the teen’s mien is brightened;
Bearing two loads of books on her back,
She’s walking the path not trod for several months by her.
The Sun’s glistening upon her oiled hair
While her frock, polka-dotted and unwashed, is kissing her knees.
Many onlookers are school goers uniformly dressed,
Some are men and women hurrying to work,
A few are beggars with shirts torn, shorts too soiled;
The girl though has journeyed from desolation to delight
As her walk is now sheer energy,
Look power, not downcast anymore,
Charm a thief, one that steals hearts.
Orphaned at the age of two,
The girl has never known or seen her parents;
She knows not what it’s like to have a family.
Forced is she to make ends meet.
Her legs are now treading artfully,
Stopping once she reaches her destination;
She’s content, for schools are now reopened,
Gladdened is she at the prospect of
Meeting new students,
And… making money.
She has never been to school though.
The hawker has only heard about schools and colleges;
She knows she will never be able to attend either.
Now unloading the loads she has carried for long,
– Books, pens, sheets of paper unfurled –
She hopes to make good money by shouting them out;
Her first customer’s a disheartened lad,
One heading to school after a ten-month break.