On the first day of my work I cried by sitting near the bridge where once my father used to work. I had no idea how to work without some memories of my father polishing shoes. In monsoon my father carried me on his shoulder to take me to school. In my school during rainy season we have to keep our books inside the plastic, drops of rain continued to enter through the hole of the tin shade of the school but that could never stop us from reciting poetry. My father always said I have to become big. Seven days after his death I became very big. We had nothing to eat in our home, my youngest brother was suffering from fever and my mother had no idea what to do. The box was heavier than me. My classmates were pointing at me while they were going to school. I was supposed to go to my class and learn the rest of the poetry. I became big but I cried like a child. When the first customer gave me to polish his shoes, my hands were trembling and when he shouted by calling me ‘Bloody cobbler’, I could not hold back my tears. He took away his shoes without paying me anything. Other hawkers were looking at me with sympathy. And I felt like running to my school, get wet by the rain and memorize rest of the poetry. And then a man came to me. His appearance was dangerous, his voice was very harsh. He ordered me to polish his shoes like a mirror. I bite my lips to hold my tears and tried to do my best and then he asked me to do that again. I did again and he asked me to do again. Then he showed me a line and asked me to do again. I stopped crying and at the end the shoe was shining like a glass. He put a 100 taka note in my packet and said, ‘Use your time and energy to work, not to cry, tears will never bring anything.’ He left to the ferry. That day I earned 300 taka. It’s been three years I am working, without wasting my time on crying. I am sending my two younger brothers to school. Last year, I married off my elder sister. And I have learned the poetry that I could not finish three years ago. I drank all my tears and only living for my dreams. Now when people call me cobbler I do not cry anymore, I look at them and smile..
Uttam Chandra Das (15)