Aren't They ?

"Give me a Egg puffs as well"
It was drizzling. The half-tea was warming me up. Two guys and a girl, all aged around 10 years came by, bought a few toffees and started sharing.
There is nothing that you don't get at Jyothi Bakery, I believed.
The kids left.
I almost finished by puffs.
A 7 year old looking kid with no hair on his head came.
I and the shopkeeper thought he was a customer too.
He wanted to buy something as well.

The malayali shopkeeper asked in Kannada
"What do you want ?"
"I want work, do you have any ?"
There is something that you dont get in Jyothi Bakery!


Sometimes I feel Kerala is a heaven.
I have seen very few instances of child labor in Kerala (this includes Cochin, Thrissur, the Palakkad District). Either I was not observant enough or I am right. When I moved over to Surathkal I was introduced to a world where kids below age 14 are employed in the Messes and Guest Houses of a college which is run by the Ministry of Human Resource Department, Government Of India.
The other students took it for granted.
I was perturbed. How could they do it ? Don't the college authorities atleast have a list of people employed in the institution with a column for their age ?

In Bangalore they are everywhere, doing everything.
Hotels, workshops, Industries. . . . everywhere.
They come from everywhere.
Sometimes as far as Jarkhand.

So what do we do ?
You can't just ban it.

These guys are earning a living.
They are feeding themselves and sometimes other mouths too.
They are better than educated home-sitting jobless elite who don't contribute anything to the economy.
Aren't they ?

So what do we do ?
Legitimize their employment ?

These guys are future citizens too.
They should know what is wrong and what is right.
They should be given the opportunity to try their hand in skills other than washing utensils and wiping tables. They are our future citizens too.
Aren't They ?