Sometimes I Find a Rupee in the Garbage
The narrator asks Saheb the reason for searching garbage dumps. He tells her that his house was struck with storms and other natural calamities and he has nothing else to do as well. The narrator jokingly tells him to go to school instead, but he replies that there are no schools in his neighbourhood.
The scene continues with their normal friendly banter. The narrator promises to build a school. Saheb asks him after a few days if she has built it or not. The narrator was embarrassed.
Saheb-e-Alam does not know what his name means. He does not wear chappals. The narrator learns that staying bare-footed was more of a tradition. She connects it as an excuse to stay in perpetual poverty.
The narrator remembered a story when a young boy went to school by passing a temple. He would briefly stop at the temple and pray for shoes. After thirty years, the narrator visited the same temple, where a young boy with shoes stood in the backyard. The narrator thought that God had answered the previous young school kid’s prayers, but many rag-pickers still did not have shoes to wear.
The narrator talks about Seemapuri, a place of intense filth and mud and where all the rag-pickers live. The residential areas here lack drainage, sewage and other basic facilities. Saheb also lives here. They have no identity except a ration card that is used to buy food. Since sleeping with a full stomach was better. Garbage to them was like gold.
Saheb has now started to work at a tea stall. He is paid eight-hundred rupees. There is a penchant for a good life in him.
I Want To Drive a Car
Mukesh wants to be a motor mechanic. He has big dreams. He belongs to a family of bangles makers. Mukesh invites the narrators to his home. The path to his home is filled with filth and mud. Inside the house is a woman who is cooking food.
Mukesh’s house was a half-built shack. The woman is the wife of Mukesh’s elder brother. She withdraws inside the compartment when the elders (his husband and father-in-law) arrive. Mukesh’s father used to be a tailor and now a bangle maker. All he can do in his lifetime is to train his sons in bangle making.
Mukesh’s grandmother, who saw her husband go blind says that it was in his destiny to go blind. Firozabad, which is a hub of bangle making, was a dark, dull place. Most of the kids there get blind due to staying in the dark most of the time before they are even adults.
Savita is a young girl who is helping an older woman to make bangles. The narrator imagines her being a bride one day. The old lady has not eaten a full meal. Her husband only knows about bangles.
The narrator asks them if they ever think of getting organized to which they reply, that the police will target them as doing something illegal. After listening to them, the narrator has developed a perception of two worlds, one of the oppressed people like the rag-pickers and bangle makers and the other world of dominant and cruel people.
According to him, these people like the policemen and politicians have imposed a weight on a child that he cannot lift. For these kids, to dream becomes to dare. The narrator is happy when he sees this daring flash in Mukesh’s eyes. He wants to be a motor mechanic because he sees cars going up and down the streets of Firozabad.