“That boy right there, his name is Nandu Vijay Pawar. I met him while going to Baroda. The train was to leave at 3:45 pm and he entered my coach at 3:40 pm with a school bag.
He started asking people something, but many didn’t respond and others were busy stuffing their luggage beneath the seats.
He came to my compartment and told me “Joothe polish karvalo” I said, “Mere pass joothe nahi hain jo polish ho sake, Yeh lo Rs.20/-” (I don’t have any shoes to get polished. Take this Rs 20). He declined to take the money and told me something, I wasn’t expecting. “No, I will not take money if you don’t get any shoes polished. I am not begging. I want to work and earn” and he said that in English. I was a bit shocked with the way he responded and an aunty and uncle were sitting right across my seat and they were shocked as well.
I told him “Par joothe hain hi nai, Kya polish karoge?” (But I there are no shoes, what will you polish?)
He said, “Aapke joote haina yeh wale. Usse saaf kar dunga”. (These shoes of yours. I will clean them)
I didn’t want him to do that, but his will to earn money by working and not begging made me remove my shoes and give it to him. He cleaned my shoes and while he was cleaning them. Aunty asked him, “Kya karte ho shoe polish ke alava?” (What do you do apart from polishing shoes?)
And he replied “I go to a school in Goregaon”.
Uncle asked him, “Tumhare maa-baap kya karte hain?” (What do your parents to?) And he said “Mummy tabaele mei kaam karti hain, papa off ho gaye aur ek choti behen hain, woh bhi school jaati hain” (Mummy works in a cow shed, Papa died and there is a younger sister, who goes to school, too).
He was done cleaning my shoes by then and I gave him Rs.20/- for that. He took the money and started packing his bag, aunty told him “Jaldi karo train chalne lagegi” (Be quick, the train will start moving) and he said “I have to get down at Andheri station”.
Aunty asked him “TC ya police wala aaya toh? Tumhare pass toh ticket bhi nahi hain” (What if the TC or policeman comes? You do not even have tickets).
He said something that melted my heart, “TC ke joothe polish kar dunga Paisa toh dega nai, par jaane dega aur Police wala kya karega 3-4 jhaapad maarega aur fir chodh dega”. ( I will polish TC’s shoes, he will not give any money but will let me go. What will the policeman do? Will slap me three or four times and then let go of me). I was speechless.
While he was done. He asked me “Didi, Andheri station pe notebook dila doge? Mujhe school ke liye chahiye” (Sisiter, at Andheri station will you get me a notebook? I need it for school). I told him “Main train se toh nai utar paungi Par main tujhe paise de dungi book kharidne ke Le lena” (I cannot get off at the station but I will give you the money to buy the notebook). I gave him Rs.50/- more and he said “Thank you, Mera naam hain Nandu, sabka bandu Nandu Vijay Pawar”, and he walked off smiling, with his school bag and I kept looking at him because that boy right there, taught me a lesson for life.
Nandu Vijay Pawar, I hope and wish that you achieve great things in life and may god save you from all the evils of the society.”