While boys of his age are busy on vacation during their school summer break, 12-year-old Shyam insists on selling fruit at a market 10km from his home in this sunny heat.
Shyam dreams of becoming a doctor, but he does not know how to achieve his goal by scooping up a fruit-filled bicycle. ₹200-250 per day.
Shyam has taken up the job of selling fruit during the school holidays to help his family of nine members.
Shyam’s mother is also a fruit seller and the father is Halwai who works as a mercenary for the season. Of the seven siblings, four of their siblings also work as day laborers.
“My school is closed for summer vacation, so I took this opportunity to make some money and help my family,” said Shyam, who is studying in 5th grade.
He loves Hindi as a subject but often has to miss classes because of his work.
As to how he fulfills his dream of becoming a doctor, he said, “I don’t know now, but I’m sure I’ll do it one day.”
Asked why his 12-year-old son was working as a mercenary, his mother said: “How should they learn if they don’t work? Working out will help them get a kind of job in the future.
She admits that she was aware of child labor laws, but insisted on doing so by force.
His 14-year-old brother Rakesh also does small things to help the family.
“I often help my father, who is a halwai, and in the off-season, I help him in his vegetable business,” 6th grader Rakesh added.
“When I don’t have enough work at my father’s fruit shop, I look for work elsewhere,” he said.
This is the case for 14-year-old MD Shoaib, who works in a barber shop near Integral University on Kursi Road.
He hardly does ₹20-25 per day but satisfied with his daily expenses.
He started working at the age of thirteen and learned shaving and shaving skills from his father who was a barber.
Their work starts at about 9am and continues into the evening.
When asked if he would go to school, he said, “I go to school sometimes and when I am not, I come here and work.”
He also wants to be a doctor one day and serve those who are not.