Asiya | 9 | Student
I am Asiya and live in Bagh-i-Islam in Baramulla with my father, a mosque-caretaker, and my mother, a housewife, and a younger sister. I go to a government school everyday. I don’t have to pay any fees. I got a nice pair of shoes from school, but no uniform. My father finds it hard to buy me a uniform. I don’t study much at school. Teachers often do not hold classes. It is a small primary school and very few children study there. All of us are from poor families. We play all day long.
I don’t study at home too. There is some homework that I finish early. After school, I help my mother in the kitchen. But my mother wants me to study. She says if I go to school everyday then I will become a doctor. I too want to become a doctor. I want to treat patients at the hospital.
My father comes home late in the evening and leaves at the break of dawn. He works hard to run the family. I don’t get any chocolates or chips. But he loves me.
We live in a one-room tenement. My mother cooks in one half of the room and we live and sleep in the other half. Bricks on our walls hang loose, and sometimes one or two also fall. One day a brick fell on the floor, took a tumble and hit my mother’s toe. She couldn’t walk for several weeks.
Our neighbours have large beautiful houses. If I become a doctor, I too will own a house. But the people living in them never visit us. But they call my father when they have work for him. I have never gone to any of these houses, but some men living in those houses smile at me whenever we meet.
Dear Kapil Sibal: I want to go to a good school but my father does not have the means to pay for my school fees.
Riyaz Wani is a Special Correspondent with Tehelka.