Sometimes, as I come across various human beings, there are certain things that touch me to approach a complete stranger and say hello! Even though it might seem a bit awkward at times, I really don’t mind.
A life Below Human Standards
Today, while I was reading an article about child trafficking, I remembered Birendra Raj Joshi who I met in Mumbai. In a recent trip to Mumbai, one day I was taking a walk on Marine lines when I saw this young homeless man talking to himself. Something about him compelled me to go and talk to him. As if my feet had a will of their own, I soon found myself headed for the empty spot next to him. We were soon talking.
He told me that his name was Birendra and he hailed from Nepal. He remembers when he was in the 7th grade, a trafficker lured him into going with him to earn big money. The stranger brought him to Delhi where he sold Birendra. Birendra found many kids like him living there. He doesn’t remember the details correctly, but he stated that they would give them something to eat after which they would behave in a very strange manner. He thinks it was drugs. Soon their dependency to that drug became higher and they were forced to beg or steal in order to get it from their owner.
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His escape from his masters
One day, while transporting the kids to Agra, their cab met with an accident. The Police arrested the driver with the other gang members. Birendra never heard from them again.
When police officer got to know that I am from Nepal, he asked me to stay in the police station and made me work there. I stayed there for almost a year. Though they were nice to me, they made me work from 6 in the morning till midnight. – Berindra said
In early 2010 he took the bus and reached Delhi. On the way to Delhi he made a new friend and narrated his story to him. That person worked in a hotel in Pahargunj. He offered to take him along and help him find work to which Birendra agreed. He even offered to let Birendra live in his house. Sadly, his new friend was a drug pusher and got Birendra hooked as well. Whatever money he earned, he spent it on drugs. It degraded his life below human standards.
A second chance to be a human
In Sept 2011 his luck favoured him in a strange way. While walking towards Daryagunj, he spotted a small gold idol of a Hindu deity. It looked like gold so to confirm he took that to goldsmith. He managed to sell it for a few thousand rupees and with that money he went to Nepal, to his home.
His family was excited to see him but they didn’t get the same Birendra back. He was not the same person any more. The bitterness of his life experiences and the harshness of the people along with the drugs, he had become a stranger to them. He was a completely different human being now. They wanted to help him and thus sent him to a rehabilitation centre. At Sudhar Kendra (Rehabilitation centre) his family paid 30,000 Nepalese rupees in hope for him to lead a normal life. However, the sudhar kendra had strict guidelines and did not allow any family interaction with their subjects.
He said, “The staff would hit and torture the patients. They would beat us and tell us to stop taking drugs. They would beat us till we stopped asking for drugs. It was unbearable so one day I escaped along with 2 more boys from that centre. They wanted to go to Mumbai since it was a familiar place for them. Not having any option, I just followed.”
A hope to help Joshi
I wanted to help him to go back to his family in Nepal but he insisted on staying in Mumbai. Birendra said that he wanted to end his addiction first and then visit them. Joshi said that he doesn’t think that his family will trust him again. He also said that he didn’t want to go back to that centre and go through similar abuse.
Birendra didn’t want to share his details with me, however, during the course of our conversation, I managed to get his name and permanent home address.
I feel that his family deserves to know about his ordeals and help him before they lose him completely.
The Human Protagonist
Name:Birendra Raj Joshi
Home: Mahendranagar, Kanchanpur, Nepal
Current location: Marine Lines (near flyover)
Edited by: Himesh Saraf