Kalyani Bhagat
4 min readMay 6, 2019

I have a Dream

I don’t like selling fruits. My father says I have to grow up to be a fruit seller just like him. He seems fascinated by the idea of me joining the family business when I grow up. When he talks to his friends about work, I don’t understand why he lies to them. We don’t even have a shop. We stand on the roadside every evening with a cartload of fruit. He makes me hold them high up, standing on the road so the ‘office goers’ returning home would notice me. No one does though, mostly. They drive past me ‘fast and furious’, like the movie. They all seem like very busy people.

I asked father once if I could go to school and he was furious at me. “You are too young to understand all this”, he said. “Just pay attention to what I teach you. This is what you will do all your life. It’s best you learn now. Don’t waste your time on useless thoughts.” He can be insensitive sometimes.

My mother works at the ‘IT Company’ as a cleaning lady; they call it ‘housekeeping’, she said. She always tells me so many good things about her workplace; sounds like a magical place. I want to see it for myself though but she said I won’t be allowed to go. Today, I told her I want to be an Engineer. She was very happy. She promised to support me in everything I want to do. But I don’t think my father would allow it. He warned mother not to fill my head with all this ‘garbage’, instead, she should help me understand the importance of the hard work he does to earn barely enough money for our daily needs.

I understand him, I really do. I wish he understood me too.

Sometimes, I am scared of him. The other day, I was standing on the road, as usual, displaying as many oranges as I could hold in my hand whilst the busy vehicles raced by me. Father kept egging me on to move forward. I was afraid I would be hit by some car, but he insisted. So I took a deep breath and moved a step. My heart started pounding being so close to all the speeding vehicles. He rushed to me, held my arm tightly and forced me ahead. As I struggled, there was a loud screech of tyres suddenly coming to a halt and my father’s grip on me loosened. I turned to him, he was falling. He was hit! Oh God, what should I do?

The crowd gathered quickly as I tried to help him up. He whispered to me, “Play along” and feigned being in unbearable pain and started to cry. The driver came out to rescue and offered to take us to the hospital. Father angrily refused and asked for some money instead. He was bleeding profusely. I tried to reason with him and he glared at me. I fell silent. The driver gave him some money and then some more seeing my father’s frown and left quickly. The crowd dispersed.

I helped him to the side of the road and gave him a bottle of water. He gulped down some and then washed his wounds.

“Father, we should go to the clinic. Your wounds look rather nasty. You need medicines…”

“YOU THINK THIS IS THE FIRST TIME I’M HURT?” He yelled. I looked at him in confusion.

“Look, you do not understand the ways of the world. This money will last us at least a week.” He smiled raising the notes to my face.

“Father, you’re more precious than money. What if something happened to you?” I was almost in tears.

“Son, I’m a poor man. I have a family to take care of. I can’t afford treatment. I can’t afford rest. And most of all, I can’t afford your nonsensical thoughts. Sometimes we have to do things to take care of the people we love.” He was in pain, I could see it. But he would never admit it.

That day, I decided, I will get us all out of this. I won’t dance to life’s dirty tunes! I will become an Engineer, no matter how hard I have to work. I will be successful!

I joined night school. It’s difficult to sneak out without getting noticed by Father but I manage, Mother helps. She is proud of me.

One day, he will be too…

Kalyani Bhagat

Aspiring writer. Love to paint word pictures. Techie by job description, Poet at heart :)