Exclusive: What Osama really thinks of Obama!

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Verity’s foreign affair’s correspondent, managed to get an exclusive interview with Osama Bin Laden after a lot of difficulty and several close shaves. The international fugitive who has not been seen in person by any body from the outside world for the last 10 years in an exclusive interview!  We are keeping our special reporter’s name a secret for now, for security reasons.

Verity’s Reporter recounts his experience.
I was taken by road, blindfolded from North West Pakistan. There were stringent requirements that needed to be met. No electronic devices, so the entire interview was taken down in shorthand. No cameras allowed either, so I could not bring you a picture of what he looks like now. It took almost 2 days to reach Osama’s place, which was entirely underground. Technically it was inside a cave, but a cave this well-equipped, I have never seen before.  I had no idea where in Afghanistan we were. I was never allowed to see the the Afghani sky.

I was taken to a room, patted down, made sure that I was not carrying anything else apart from a pen and notepad.

Finally, when they were satisfied, they took me to a room where finally my blindfold was taken off. In front of me was a frail looking man, who did not look much like the pictures I had seen of him. But his eyes, his eyes were the same. They could be recognized anywhere.

Contrary to my expectations, he treated me very politely, like a gentleman, if I could say that, and yet, he was purposeful, while being surprisingly gentle. One could see the reverence with which the others treated him. His word was the command. ’

Excerpts from the interview are being shown here as part of an exclusive preview. Osama talks in detail about Barack Obama. To read the complete interview, get the latest copy of Verity on the stands right now.

V R (Verity’s Reporter): So Mr  Bin Laden, America has a new President now…
OBL (Osama Bin Laden): Obama? Hah! For a while, I was enjoying the circus when people thought that Osama was contesting the elections! American People! I even heard that some of the ballot papers were printed wrong. Can you believe that?Allah help them! The things that people do! People even thought that he is my secret agent!

V R: So was he? Your secret agent, I mean?
OBL: Are you joking, young man? Of course not! I do not meddle in another country’s internal matters like some other countries we know! And even if I did, I would have got someone smarter than that young fellow who has been led to believe that he is God’s gift to mankind!

V R: Why do you think of him that way?
OBL: Think of him? What is there to think about him?

He is not doing anything different, is he? All these people only talk about upholding the ‘American way of life’.

Had he been my secret agent, he would have, in the first place, removed this democracy thing. And then he would have imposed our Taliban way of life. I feel sorry for them, they have no idea what they are missing out on. How wonderful the Taliban way of life is! Inshallah! One day, all the people in this world will be able to experience this. Inshallah.

That gives me an idea. I am now going to arrange tourist trips to Afghanistan so that people can come and see and learn from us. For those who are very interested, we will even have special training programs and camps to help people pick up our way of life. They could then teach and propagate it in their own countries.  I heard that some people in your country, some Khap Panchayats or something have learnt and implemented some of our ideas there? See, I always felt that India is a smart country, if only they did not insist on hanging on to Kashmir. Inshallah, God willing, your country will see the light soon too.

V R: But Obama says the Taliban way of life is inhuman, that it violates basic human rights.
OBL: That’s what he would say! He knows nothing about the Taliban way.

The Taliban way of life is very orderly and controlled. People don’t have the ‘freedom’ to do what ever they want to. You see, when people are given unlimited freedom, they don’t know what to do, and that just leads to chaos. Human rights is just another fancy term to hide all the chaos that this unfettered freedom gives rise to.

In our society, people know their limits. We have laws and punishments to deal with people who do not conform. See the young people of Obama’s country… what was the name? Yeh, America. They claim to be a liberal society. But, what do their people do? Listen to disgusting music… Wear (or not wear) what they feel like… No respect for religion…. And on top of everything, women get to do whatever they feel like? I ask how can you allow women to work even if they wanted to? One day women will ask for the moon, will you give them that too?

I say the whole system of beliefs propagated by Obama’s land is false. It’s faulty and against the wishes of Allah.

Allah be merciful to such ignorant people who talk about freedom and equality!

V R:  But the world tends to believe Obama when he talks about freedom and equality?
OBL: What else can be expected out of you people? One person appears on TV and talks senseless things… and you guys end up believing him. And when I give my messages in tapes, you call it ‘threats’.

Obama is using his interviews to threaten and challenge our way of life, and none of you people understand this? He is inciting fellow Muslim people by talking sweet to them, and that is fine, but if I talk, it is a threat? Double standards, my friend!

Okay! Tell me whose views do you support? And while you do that, please pass on that gun to me… there… the one on the table.

(V R panics but manages to maintain his composure)

V R: I agree with your views completely, which is why I risked my life to meet you! So, you were telling me why freedom and equality is bad (somehow manages to deflect Osama’s attention).

OBL: Yes, that of course. See, the more freedom people get, the more they are likely to question and revolt. If everyone had their way, chaos would take over.

In an orderly society like ours, everyone knows their place. Everyone knows what clothes to wear, what things to do. Women know their place, children know their role.  More importantly, people know the consequences of not conforming to the societal norms.

We, Talibans, are envied for our stringent and quick justice system. We don’t waste years fighting in courts. Justice is dispensed on streets. People know that they can get instant justice and instant punishment. We don’t need extra police force like Obama’s county needs. Every citizen is a policeman in our society.

Look what happens in America. If they manage to catch a criminal at all, they then have to frame charges, move the courts, and then the jury will deliberate upon it! All this is such a waste of time! By the time the justice is dispensed, the victim must have forgotten what the issue was all about!

VR: But, despite all this, America is one of the most sought after countries to live in.
OBL: Ha ha ha! Sought after country? If that’s true, why do they look at Obama as it’s saviour? If everything were that perfect, what do they need saving from? Did you know they even liken Obama to Jesus Christ.

And I know all this adulation has gone into his head.

But, I think he is a big fool. Does he not realize the same people are targeting him for not handling things right? His own Army chief has the guts to oppose him! Not one of my people will ever do something like this! Tell me, which sensible people will attack somebody they consider god? Clearly, American people are not clear about what they want. When people do not know what they want, it is upto the leader to tell them, and in such a manner that they never question him again.

He should have taken his cues from us and learnt to set some boundaries within his society. He would have then got the respect he deserved. Instead, look where he is now.

Not just that, he even had the bad sense of appointing a woman as his second in chief. These decisions of his will be his downfall. In the name of democracy, he will be pulled down and replaced by another Bush replica, 4 years down the line. Praise be to Allah, he will ensure that countries like America will never flourish, try as they might to destroy our countries.

If only Obama had the good sense to implement our tenets of life, that would have ensured that he remained the president until he chose to give it up. Now, it is just a matter of time…Allah willing.

VR : What about allegations that Afghanistan is underdeveloped ever since the Talibans have taken over?

OBL: Underdeveloped? Says who?

We are the most developed country in the world. Our education system starts very early in life. Every child knows the basic tenets of our way of life from the beginning. We even recruit our soldiers as soon as they are potty trained. You see, that is the best stage. They are ripe for moulding. What they learn at that age, will stay with them for life. In the so-called developed countries, children spend hours watching mindless television. You know what that does to them? It eats into their brains and turns it into mush. All they can talk about is some character they follow on TV.

Look at our society. At the same age, young boys in our country, know that they have to protect our culture, and our way of life. The young girls know how to take care of everything inside of their homes. Everybody knows their place in society. Inshallah!  You don’t have women divorcing men, drinking on the streets, dancing all through the night.  How can you call such a society civilized? Allah save them!

Jannat on earth is here. And our people know that by living by these rules, they will achieve Jannat after they die too. Allah the merciful, will ensure that the faithful get their just rewards.

VR: Ok, I get what you are saying. So what do you really think of Obama as a President? Do you think he is a better President than Bush?
OBL: Better than Bush? He is the same, worse, in a way, because he should have known better.

What really irks me is the countless comparison between the two of us, mainly because of our names! To be honest, I am insulted that I am compared to that boy. How can people compare me with that young fellow? Look at Obama. He was once championed as the change, as somebody who could smooth ruffled feathers, someone who would take care of the mess that Bush created. Instead he goes and increases the number of troops in Afghanistan, pushes Pakistan to take us on in the Swat Valley. He tried ‘reaching out’ to the Muslim world, with some meaningless gestures, but that was it. He is now back to following every other American President’s path.

These people want to force democracy on the world, but look where it has taken them? Does democracy really mean anything when people think that Barack Obama is Osama Bin Laden just because the names sound similar? See, this is precisely why only people who are informed should be in a position to choose a leader. You give the right to every body, see what happens. First you get a Bush and then you get an Obama. We would never such leaders among the Talibans, because we mean business!

People believed that he could set things right by magic.And when he failed, the democracy turned against him. The magician, the Mr Fix-it-all, is just another American President now. Just another puppet for democracy. Mark my words, if he has the guts to turn America into Afghanistan, he will be worshipped by his people. But the silly boy, does not understand these basic things.

He is already slipping on the approval ratings. After the initial honeymoon period, which by the way, was almost non-existent, thanks to the Financial crisis. The euphoria about his election started fading when he could not do anything much to handle the crisis, apart from the pumping in money. Within 2 years of becoming the American President, Obama is already slipping downhill, while I, Osama Bin Laden continue to strike fear in American hearts and loyalty amongst his own people. That is what a leader should be like!

Only Allah can save these people, and they refuse to understand that.

To me, Barack Obama is just another fugitive. A fugitive of first degree.

VR: Barack Obama a fugitive? Why ? I mean.. Why is he a fugitive?

OBL: Allah help you! You are still in doubt?
He is a fugitive because he is opposing me, Osama Bin Laden, the ruler of the world’s most powerful country! The person who could bring America to it’s knees. Obama  stands for everything I oppose. We are out to capture him and bring him to trial, in our own special Taliban way.

We are a peace-loving people, who do not do anything to provoke anybody, unless they harm us. And yet, that man Obama, is refuses to understand. He is adamant on taking us on. He is forcing us to take action. Only Allah can save him now!

He is guilty of forcing continuing his predecessor’s attack on us. I can understand Bush – he is a nincompoop, but Obama? He is also a traitor to his real religion. How can a man with Hussein in his name, attempt this and expect to get away? Only a man who rejects his father’s religion and takes his mother’s religion can do such things.

Not only is he trying to destroy my country, he even tries to gang up against me by trying to turn our neighbours against us. Praise be to Allah, our neighbours are smart, they take his money, and then help us! If only he knew how he was being taken for a ride! Inshallah, all his tactics will fail because Allah is with us in our fight for justice.

In reality, all that Obama wants is oil. He wants our this rich, beautiful land to be his gateway. He is not bothered about our people or their lives. All they want is to take everything that out beautiful country has to offer and impoverish our people, until they have no option but to give up. But I am not going to allow that to happen. Even after I go to Jannat, my faithful, loyal people will ensure that our beautiful country and our way of life, our culture is preserved. No Obama or Bush can take away our land from us.

I would like to tell him that all his interviews and speeches that he sends across to try to frighten us is of no use. He cannot terrorize us.  We have a great spirit. Our Taliban spirit will not be broken. Even if you bomb us, we will continue with our lives as usual.

A war continues to be fought in my name, Two countries have been ravaged in an effort to catch me. Who do you think is the more powerful? Don’t they say that Helen of Troy, the face that launched a thousand ships? My face has launched thousands of bombs! And you people, how dare you compare me with that toddler, Obama!

Osama’s eyes flashed. He looked at VR as if he were Obama and almost pounced on him as if he alone were responsible for all this.

VR, panicking:  Oh no, I did not mean to compare you at all. I just wanted to know what you felt about him. I just wanted to tell the whole world about your point of view.

OBL:  Yes, you do that! That Obama thinks that he can give interviews left right and centre and change people’s minds? Let me tell you, I am the true ruler of this world. I have shown the world who is king!

Osama refused to let us have a picture of his. However he did give us this poster that has been circulated to capture Obama. It is the handiwork of some of those young recruits that Osama is so proud of.


To read the Super 3 entries of the rest of the team hop over to at Shilpa’s,Lazy Pineapple’sKshitij’sPujitha’sHitesh’sParth’s and Tavish’s.

Bhopal Gas Tragedy, 26 years on.

Team This post has been published by me as a team member of The Wordsworth Legions for the SUPER 4 round of Bloggers Premier League (BPL) – The first ever unique, elite team blogging event of blog world. To catch the BPL action and also be part of future editions and other contests, visit and register at Cafe GingerChai

The Bhopal Gas tragedy is considered the world’s worst, industrial catastrophe, and 26 years on,the nightmare still continues for its victims and survivors. 26 years on, they  are still asking the same question they asked then –  Will they will ever get justice?

The night of December 2-3, 1984, continues to evoke very strong emotions across the country as well as abroad, for its far-reaching impact as well as the delayed justice for its victims and survivors. In the early hours of December the 3rd, methyl isocyanate gas leaked out of the Union Carbide India Limited plant in Bhopal. Union Carbide India Limited was the Indian subsidiary of Union Carbide Corporation. For a tragedy of its scale, the details seem very fuzzy. The Madhya Pradesh government puts the death toll at 3787, while other sources go up to 12,000 deaths. This is in addition to the thousands impacted in various other ways by inhaling the gas. The long-term side effects of the gas inhalation is still evident after a quarter of a century past the tragedy. Children are still being born, showing the effects of the gas.
There was a huge international outcry after the disaster, for relief for the effected and to punish those involved. Union Carbide has been found liable for th disaster, but has denied responsibility even claiming the possibility of sabotage. The much awaited verdict on the court case on th Bhopal gas tragedy finally came on the of June 2010. A mere two years of imprisonment for those involved with no word on Warren Anderson, the then Chairman and CEO of Union Carbide.
Warren Anderson, the one that got away.

The Bhopal Gas Tragedy seems just as mired in controversy as it was when it happened. Here are some highlights the events that followed the tragedy.

3rd December 1984 , the gas leak occurs. Upto to 500,000 people said to be affected, the death toll still speculative, is said to be around 12,000.

4th December 1984,  a case is registered against Union Carbide. Chairman and CEO of Union Carbide is arrested and then released on bail and allowed to leave the country. This is something that will come back to haunt everybody involved down the years. Who authorised this, how did they come to the conclusion that Warren Anderson should be allowed to go, is mired in controversy even today.

14th December 1984, Warren Anderson testifies in front of the Congress. He stresses UCC commitment to safety and promises to take actions to ensure that a similar incident “cannot happen again.” No testimony of this sort happened in India.

February 1985, an interim relief fund is set up by Union Carbide, that collects more that $120,000.

March 1985 The Govt of India, enacts the Bhopal Gas Leak Act , which allows the govt to act as the legal representative of the victims of the disaster. This turned out to be a controversial decision as individual victims cannot sue Union Carbide for compensation. Lots of activists are demanding that this be repealed, at least now, after 26 years.

1985 Government of India claims $3.3 Billion as compensation for the victims from Union Carbide in an American Court.

1987 Litigation against Union Carbide is transferred to Indian Courts.

1988 The Supreme court asks the Govt of India and Union Carbide to reach a settlement.

1989 5 years after the tragedy occurred, a settlement of $470 million is agreed upon, to be paid by 31st March, 1989. Within 10 days, Union Carbide made the full payment to the Government of India.

1990 Hearings are held to overturn the settlement. The Government tries to put together the list of people who have the affected.

1991 Supreme court hold the settlement as it is as well as comes out with additional pointers for what needs to be done.

1992 Part of the settlement is disbursed and Warren Anderson is declared a fugitive.

1994 Union Carbide completes the sale of 50.9 percent interest to McLeod Russell (India) Ltd of Calcutta.

2004 Fifteen years after the tragedy, the Supreme Court orders releasing the remaining settlement amount to the victims. Reports claim that along with the interest accumulated, there is approximately $ 327 million in the fund.

2005 The Supreme Court extends the deadline to 30th August 2006, for the release of the remaining settlement funds.

2010 Almost 26 years after the tragedy, the verdict is out. All the eight accused are guilty but all the convicts have been granted bail.

Controversies surrounding the Bhopal Gas Tragedy
The verdict on the Bhopal Gas Tragedy, has at the very least ensured that the media attention is focussed back on the Bhopal Gas Tragedy and people are asking questions that should have been asked 25 years ago.

  • How did Warren Anderson get away. What was the role of the then state and Union Government in allowing a safe passage for Warren Anderson. Parallels have been drawn in the manner the BP oil spill is being handled by the US currently, and the way our Government handled the Bhopal Gas Tragedy. Why were the tough questions not asked of Union Carbide? Was there more than meets the eye? What made the government act soft on Union Carbide.
  • The settlement amount that the Government of India agreed to, was based on an underestimated number of victims. With the number of victims being far higher, the compensation which was doled out was a pittance. Several groups have been campaigning about the conditions of the victims and the further injustice that has been meted out to them in the form of a pittance of a compensation.
  • There was never a proper analysis and count of the actual number of people impacted. There have been instances of people who did not even live in Bhopal at that time getting compensation, while people who were killed, or badly affected went without compensation.
  • There are claims that the $470 million settlement has still not been completely disbursed. Claims are that nearly two-thirds of the compensation amount has still not been disbursed.
  • Dow Chemicals which took over Union Carbide, in 1999, claims that it has no legal responsibility in connection to the Bhopal gas tragedy. Apparently the Indian government in 1989, gave a clean chit to Dow as the $ 470 million settlement absolved Union Carbide of any further responsibility. There is a lot of controversy on the basis on which the Indian government gave such an undertaking.
Conditions of the victims of the Tragedy

The picture that became the defining image of the tragedy

Amidst all the political footballing that is happening, the group of people who are most outraged are the actual victims. Most of the victims of the gas tragedy belonged to an under-privileged area of Bhopal. Thousands died in their sleep. For the victims, it has been a long struggle for compensation, medical attention and rehabilitation apart from dealing with personal loss. Children are still being born with defects and disabilities that doctors feel can be traced back to the gas tragedy.

Various citizen groups talk of how there was never a process set up to help the victims. No line of treatment was worked out, ad-hoc cures and quacks have been abounding because of the lack of information. Some of these ‘cures’ have resulted in further complications for the victims rather than any relief. For years women suffered multiple miscarriages which were linked to the gas leak. The incidence of miscarriages were reported to be around 24% higher than for normal women. The full effects of the gas leak, is still not entirely analysed and documented.

A lot of the impoverished victims have been further victimized by their lack of education and abject poverty. They have been asked to provide proof that they are victims and they have not been able to, resulting in no compensation at all. Seeta Devi, whose, new-born son died of complications right after the tragedy and has had 2 children with disabilities since, says that she is helpless. She does not know how to get ‘proof’ and has not got any compensation so far. Some of Bhopal’s most needy victims have gone without compensation because they have no way of proving that they were there. ‘What can I do, this is my fate’, she says, resigned to it and not expecting anymore. ‘People like us cannot expect anything’, she says, sadly. Doctors turn them away, despite the fact that their conditions are quite clearly the result of the gas leak. Only money and the right ‘connections’ count.

Aslam(name changed) claims that his neighbors who were not even in Bhopal at that time have managed to get compensation by getting the documents right.

Another issue that the people around the area are living with is the contaminated site of the plant. Inspections have  found 44,000 kg of tarry residues and 25,000 kg of alpha naphthol lying in the open since 1984. Studies have suggested that the soil, underground water, vegetables are all contaminated with the toxic chemicals. Other studies have found traces of the chemicals even in breast milk. There is no piped water supply in the area, so the victims are being victimized on a continuous basis, by the intake of toxic chemicals in various forms.

The site clean up needs to be done on an urgent basis. The clean up has been another issue which has been politicized and no real solution has been agreed to yet. The activists representing the victims have implored the newly set up GoM( Group of Ministers) looking into the issue, to take this up as the highest priority to make up for the neglect and negligence of successive state and union governments.

Where do we go from here?

There has been a lot of demand to get Warren Anderson extradited. Will the extradition of Warren Anderson after 26 years make any difference today? The government of India has far more answers to give, than Warren Anderson. If Warren Anderson got away then, it was because our elected government allowed him to. Sources from everywhere speak of how he was flown out as a VIP, rather than a fugitive, escaping justice . What did Anderson know that the union government wanted him out-of-the-way? Or was it just an old-fashioned matter of some money exchanging hands?

Forget about Warren Anderson, can we hold our government accountable, at the very least? The actions of the Indian government in the years after the tragedy almost looks like it wanted to hush matters quickly rather than investigate properly and get justice for its citizens.

Even today, our ministers are still insisting that the government has done everything possible and the judiciary is responsible for the delay in justice. Speaking to reporters, Union Law Minister Veerappa Moily insists that , ‘“Government did its job, judiciary should be blamed for the delay.”

Should our successive governments have sat and waited through the delay? Wasn’t there any other way to ensure that the victims got their justice sooner? Or was it hoping that the tragedy fades away from public memory?

Another important question that activists have been raising is the whether India is in a better situation to handle disasters like this, if it should happen again. Where are the lessons learnt? Have put together an plan of action, a process to handle such a disaster. Have we learnt anything at all from the disaster? Are we in a position to react differently(better) in case something like this happens again in India.

Finally, now, the government has set up a Group of Ministers to look into the Bhopal Gas tragedy and the underlying issues that have been almost buried. The GoM has come out with a better compensation structure for the victims, clean up strategy of the site. It waits to be seen if the implementation of all these will be better or if it would follow the footsteps of the previous compensation strategy. Victims are still sceptical on many counts. 55-year-old Ajmal Mohammed who has been suffering from several respiratory ailments as a result of the gas leak,wonders, ‘ Will I get anything now? Or will it go to minister’s relatives?’  Can we hold our governments accountable ever?

While GoM does recommend some relevant measures, it still raises the question, is it too little, too late?

*Pictures courtesy Google image search*

To read the Super 4 entries of the rest of the team hop over to at Shilpa’s, Lazy Pineapple’s, Kshitij’s , Pujitha’s, Hitesh’s , Parth’s and Tavish’s.

To reach the sky…

Team This post has been published by me as a team member of The Wordsworth Legions for the SUPER 5 round of Bloggers Premier League (BPL) – The first ever unique, elite team blogging event of blog world. To catch the BPL action and also be part of future editions and other contests, visit and register at Cafe GingerChai

‘Go pick up Baby, Gudia’, yelled her Madam from the living room, where she had her friends over for tea.

Gudia, abandoned her tea-making, to pick up little Baby. Baby was only 4 months old, and Gudia had been delegated to look after her, from the time she was born. Looking after Baby was one of the chores that 12-year-old Gudia loved. It reminded her of her own sisters and brothers, she had helped her mother bring up. She wondered now, how they were managing. She knew that she really did not have to worry.  Sunita, her 10-year-old sister would have taken over from where she left, a year ago.

She remembered that day so vividly. Her madam and sir had come to their native place, a few months before Baby was born. They had their son Vivek, and madam had been pregnant with Baby. Their old maid had fallen ill, and this time madam wanted a young child because she did not want to be saddled with the worry of  a maid falling ill.  Her mother had been overjoyed at their offer. It was a big blessing for her. With six children to look after and bring up, one child being practically taken off her hands and getting paid for it, was more than she could ask for. Gudia’s school had been stopped long back when she was roped into help her mother look after the other children when her mother went to work as a domestic help for the well-off families in the village. What she earned was a pittance in comparison to what the Kumars were offering for Gudia. She could not believe her luck. The only condition that they had been that she had to maintain that she was 16 in case anybody asked her in the big city.

Life at the Kumar’s was quite pleasant for Gudia. She had a lot of work, but in comparison to the amount that she had to do back in her village, this was quite comfortable. Madam was good to her too. She did not hit her like she had heard some people did, from others in the village. She did get an earful, every so often, for eating too much, but Gudia had learnt to ignore it.

Things became more hectic after Baby’s birth for Gudia, but because she adored the little baby so much, she quickly got used to it. The couple’s son was the only thorn in her back. He took pleasure in taunting her and made fun of the fact that she knew no English. She has started learning the language at school when she was pulled out. Once Vivek saw her pouring over a book he had left around and started making fun of her. ‘What are you trying to do? Do you think someone like you will be able understand all these big words?’  That ensured that she never went close to his books again.

‘Gudia, why are you day dreaming?’ Her madam’s, harsh voice broke into her reverie.

‘Baby is asleep, and we are waiting for tea, and here you are sitting at day-dreaming! Do I have to remind you of everything?’

Mini, at Amita Kumar’s place for the first time, flinched. She worked in an NGO, and they had been campaigning for years to eradicate Child labour. Although Amita claimed that Gudia was almost 17, it was difficult to believe. Mini just could not help telling Amita in English, that she is after all just a child. Amita’s eyes flashed and showed Mini that she would not take kindly to any interference.

Mini’s husband reported to Amita’s husband at work and she had to be careful handling this. Her heart went out to the little girl who was handling responsibilities like a grown up. Even if she were 17, did it make it alright to shout at her? Besides, her instincts told her that she was definitely younger. She could not be more than 11. Amita claimed that she was even more scrawny earlier, and they had brought her here to help her mother who was finding it difficult to look after her children. Amita claimed that the girl had started looking healthy only after coming here.

After that get-together at Amita’s place, Mini tried to tiptoe around Amita’s ego to try to do her bit for Gudia. With Amita insisting that Gudia was 17, there was little she could do unless Gudia herself confided in her or came to her for help.

Mini had been wracking her brain to figure out a way, when fate provided a way out. Providence does work in mysterious ways. One day, Amita called her and asked for a favour. She had to go away for a few days and she had not been able to find somebody to take Gudia home. Could Mini please help keep her at her place until she got back? All her other friends had full-time domestic help, and did not want to upset the balance. Mini was overjoyed, here was the opportunity that she was waiting for.

Gudia came on the appointed day and was stunned when Mini instead of asking her to start work immediately started to ask her about her and her family. Gudia maintained that she was 17, and the story of how her mother had been delighted that Amita had helped them.  On talking to her she realised that the girl was interested in studying but had been pulled out of school. Mini’s do-good nature licked into full force and she decided to teach her in the time that she was at her place. Gudia sensed that Mini wanted to help her, but she could not understand why Mini wanted to help her at all. She actually considered herself lucky that Amita did not abuse her or treat her badly. She had heard stories of how some other girls had been treated. Amita’s household was heaven in comparison. The last thing that Gudia wanted was to upset her madam in any way.

That week, instead of doing all the household work, Gudia spent her time mastering the English alphabet and trying to read. She was delighted at the end of the week, that she could read sentences. Mini promised her that she would somehow continue teaching her. One day, Mini took Gudia to the NGO’s office. Mini realized that Gudia needed to see more of the world to understand that she deserved more. She saw how some of the girls rescued from working in homes were now being taken care of by the NGO. Seeing all the women at the NGO , filled her with wonder. Wonder at what she could have been if she had not been born where she had been. It also reminded her that if they got to know her real age, she would be plucked from there and her mother would ultimately suffer. Her monthly salary was a huge boon to her mother back in the village.

The time at Mini’s place flew by too quickly. Back at Amita’s place, Gudia’s life went back to normal. Household chores, ferrying Vivek back and forth from the school bus, looking after Baby. She still managed to get her hands on the daily newspaper and would practice her newly acquired reading skills. She kept this knowledge away from Amita. Something told her that Amita would not appreciate it.

Mini did not get a chance to coach her again. Her husband was offered a better job at another city and they were getting ready to move on. Just before she left, she did manage to smuggle a dictionary to Gudia. She had once showed Gudia how to use it and she hoped that she would remember.

Mini moved cities and got busy with life, but she always had that nagging feeling that she had not done enough. She wished that she had the courage to take Gudia to the NGO and get somebody else to talk to her.  She got busy with her life in the new city. She started working another NGO, but always felt a little guilty at the back of her mind. She could not help wishing that she had done more for Gudia. The week that she stayed with her, had made her very fond of the sincere, serious and responsible girl who was shouldering such responsibilities at an age when teenagers around her, are having the time of their lives.

Years later, she moved back into her hometown, and rejoined the old NGO. She was getting introduced to her colleagues when she met a young woman called Sujata who looked familiar but she was not able to place her. Sujata on the other hand was ecstatic, ‘Mini Madam,you must have forgotten me. I am Gudia , I used to work at Amita Madam’s place!’

Mini’s delight knew no bounds,  ‘I can’t tell you how delighted I am to see you. I have been feeling so guilty for not doing enough for you when I left!’

Gudia said, ‘Guilty, for what? Whatever I am today, is because of you. You made me want to aspire for more. You made me realize that I can dream and that I can hope to be more than a maid!’

‘If you had not showed me tenderness and caring,or encouraged me to read, that ‘people like me’ did not necessarily have no brains, I would have accepted my fate and my children might have been doing the same that I was. I got the confidence to break the cycle, because of you.’

Gudia’s words were like a balm for Mini. She had not let the child down. Gudia explained how those days with Mini had shown her that she could do more if she wanted to. So she secretly started studying Vivek’s old books which Amita had thrown away. She would stash them away and try to read and understand what she could. She knew that she had little chance of getting an actual education, but she wanted to know as much as she could. Amita’s confidence in her grew as she realized that Gudia was hardworking, sincere and extremely honest. In a couple of years time, Gudia had become so dependable and trustworthy, that when she approached Amita with the plea that she be allowed to work in other homes, just to make a little more money, Amita had agreed. This extra money she got, was stashed away as her nest egg. At that point in time, she had no idea what she would do with it, but she knew that all the opportunities she never got, she had to ensure that younger siblings and her future children should get. As the nest egg grew, so did her confidence. She had also made sure that her younger siblings were going to school and getting an education back in her village. She was determined that they would have a different, better life.

One day, she gathered the confidence to go to the NGO that Mini had once taken her to.  By then she was no longer a child labourer. But she wanted to ask them if she could do odd jobs there.  The people at the NGO were delighted to help. They had been surprised at the way she carried herself, her self-confidence and how well she had self-educated herself.  Soon she was helping out with other children, some battered physically, some battered mentally. Today she had a job that she loved. She was still studying. The thirst for knowledge that Mini had unleashed, in her was never satisfied. She also reclaimed her ‘real name’. She had been known as Gudia for too long, a mere nickname which had taken over her personality. She wanted to be Sujata now. A new name for a new personality, a person in-charge of her own destiny.

Mini realised then that every little counts. It reinforced her faith in what she was doing.She was at peace that night after a very long time.

Gudia was now one of the most effective persons at the NGO. She was an inspiration for children like her who were being used as child labour. Gudia’s success showed them that they could dream and achieve. All they had to do was grab every opportunity and be strong and aspire for a better life.

To reach the sky, all you need is a helping hand.


To read the entries of the rest of the team hop over to at Shilpa’sLazy Pineapple’sKshitij’sPujitha’sHitesh’s , Parth’s and Tavish’s.

To you with all my love…

Team This post has been published by me as a team member of The Wordsworth Legions for the “Super 6″ round of Bloggers Premier League (BPL) – The first ever unique, elite team blogging event of blog world. To catch the BPL action and also be part of future editions and other contests, visit and register at Cafe GingerChai

* This is a love letter from someone desperately in love . It reached the wrong hands and I can’t help but publish it.*

My Dearest X(name hidden for privacy),

I have been trying to tell you how much I love you for a very, very long time. Every time I see you, talking with your friends, or reading a book on the bus, or working on your computer, an uncontrollable jealousy over-powers me. Why couldn’t I be that friend, or that book, or that computer, for that matter. You are the perfect person for me. All that I would have ever wanted in a life partner comes together in you. The way you behave, the way you make friends, your work ethics, your charm, your personality, everything is just perfect. I think we would be perfect foils for each other, your outgoing and my reserved nature, your infectious enthusiasm and my calming influence, the perfect balance in every way.

If you felt that someone has been watching you, you are not mistaken, but please do not be offended, I am not stalking you, rather I am just watching your back. Of course, there is the added benefit of being able to watch you. I fell for you the moment you stepped into our office. It was such a magical moment for me. I have never felt like that before, and I suspect, that I would never feel that way again. As they say,’ You had me at Hello ‘, even if it was a hello to someone else.

I am not sure if you even know of my existence, but every second of my existence revolves around you. All I can think of is you. All I want to do is let you about my feelings for you.

Sometimes I wonder if it is wise to let you know how I feel, but after debating with myself for hours and hours, I decided to go ahead and write to you. Knowing that I might be going abroad on work in a few months time, I did not want to waste any more time.

As Nicholas Cage said in The City of Angels, ‘I would rather have had one breath of her hair, one kiss from her mouth, one touch of her hand, than eternity without it’.

I would rather have taken that chance and let you know how I feel, than wish forever about what might have been. I would rather tell you than spend the rest of my life  wondering if I made the most terrible mistake of my life.

We can both go abroad together and live away from this society which would raise it’s eyebrows at our beautiful relationship, not understanding that love can come in many ways, and that love knows no barriers. Our life together would be just perfect.

There, I said it. Now you know that someone cares deeply about you, someone willing to fight the odds, someone ready to give it her all… If you would like to know who I am, please could you come to the cafe below our office at 3, in the afternoon.

Yours forever,
Your love-lorn admirer

PS: I thought I should mention, that I am a girl too(just incase you haven’t already figured it out), and I am writing this letter, quite sure that you would reciprocate my feelings and you might be waiting to come out of the closet when you meet the right girl, unless my gaydar is giving me all the wrong signals(fingers-crossed).


Go on, hop over to the other entries of the team here at Shilpa’s, Lazy Pineapple’s, Kshitij’s , Pujitha’s, Hitesh’s , Rahul’s and Tavish’s. And please do cheer for us 🙂