Streetchild: Hridoy's Story
As I sit on the airport floor my head down, my hand stretched out in front of me, begging for money, I think about how losing my aunt at the train station led me to live this life, with one arm and an empty stomach.
Slowly the hours pass, and the day comes to an end. Standing, I count the money and see I have made 30 takas which I add to yesterday’s pay of 50 takas. I smile because this is enough money for me to buy a bag of dandy. Ignoring the roaring of my stomach, I make my way to a man that sells the drug. I notice that he stares a minute too long at the ugly cuts on my calves, my skin torn jaggedly. He holds out the bag and I grab it from him greedily before making my way back to the railway station.
My hands clutch the bag, making sure to keep it out of sight lest someone tries to take it from me. I’ve been sitting all day, my body exhausted as if I were an eight-year-old man. I don’t want to live this life anymore, this life of begging for enough money to eat one meal or smiling at people so much my cheeks hurt even though my heart is not in it. For what is there to be happy about? The fact that I take drugs until I pass out? Or that I’m a child without parents and no way to get home? Or that the only relief I feel is when I’m cutting myself?
As I walk, I see older girls and young boys inhaling dandy, trying to forget the hands of strangers on them. I see those same girls and boys cutting themselves so they could feel something through the numbness of the drugs. I see boys smoking the cigarettes they’re trying to sell defeated and broken. I see children all around me, children that were abandoned, children that ran away because they were beaten, because living on the streets of Bangladesh was safer than their own homes.