I have to leave and get up to go but I want to help her. I tell her I will be traveling abroad for 2 weeks and ask her if she will let me help her when I return. She turns and looks at me strangely again, the weariness returns on her face. What help? She asks cautiously. I smile. I want to enroll you in a school, so you can study and stop this terrible work you do. She regards me despairingly, just as a mother would a trying child. And who will feed me? And provide money for that dog at home? It must be a special type of hate, the way she says it, full of venom and hatred. I wish you would not call your mum’s husband a dog. I can arrange for your meals and clothing taken care of. Your step dad will have to look for money someplace else. She snorts her laughter again, a lengthy one. You are very naïve, takla (bald) uncle. I have some advice for you. Leave me to my fate, for you do not know the bastard snake I have at home. He will kill you if he finds out I am talking to you and you are giving me money. You are a good man, go back to your family. If you really want to help me, give me some more money, I will buy my freedom someday and disappear from Mumbai. Before that snake strikes me to satisfy his lust; you understand what I am saying, don’t you?
Embarrassed, I promise to look her up again upon return and also promise to think over giving her more money. To escape. Where are you going, bald uncle? She asks suddenly as I leave, traveling where? Her face is so curious and childlike, the question so full of longing to be somewhere else, I think about my Zainab and feel pain in my heart. I am going to Dubai and Burma and Thailand and Singapore, I reply. Baapree, the child cries, you will go on a big plane? Are these places far?
For a cheeky young girl who thinks me naïve and calls me bald uncle, Haseena is special. But I am worried about her. If I were to give her money, where will she go? Will she be able to escape her step dad? I could give her 5,000 (about USD100) or even more but will it solve her problem, a child of 12? I think and worry about her often during the 2 weeks I am away…
I am back to India and eager to go visit Haseena again; have 10,000 in alms rupees ready for her. I head out towards the awakening city and turn the corner where she is usually huddled up, churning up garbage. But the spot is now gone and where there was an easy, empty corner with piled up garbage before, there is a 7 foot high wall, completely cutting off the corner. The wall runs along a wide area of the corner lot with warning signs here and there, warning trespassers of possible persecution. My heart skips a beat and I jog around the wall in the hope of finding her elsewhere; she is nowhere. I cross the road and ask the banana vendor. Gone, he says, the owners of the land kicked her off the grounds. My heart sinks. Do you know where she may be? Do you know her parents, her mother, her father? The guy shrugs his shoulders carelessly and ignoring me, tends to an approaching customer.
I am so upset; I worry about her all day. Where would she be? If I could only get her the money at least. I try again today; no luck. I could kick myself; I should have at least given her my home address, not even 5 minutes away…
Where are you Haseena, my child, my woman child? I wish you well and earnestly pray that you find happiness wherever you end up.
Really its a painful situation through which haseena would be going… There must be so many similar cases in Mumbai itslef or acccorss the world but the point is who cares????
I really salute you for your self that you took the pain and tried to help her & thought for well being. In todays world people are so mean that they just think about their self & their family and even if they contribute for some good cause then it will be for the name & fame.
Jazakallah for all these kinds of work, May Allah accept your all good deeds and Hazart Wali-e-Asr (a.t.f.s) becomes happy for the noble & kind casue & give you more Taufiqat for further good deeds.