Camera: Athar Rather
Video Editor: Kunal Mehra
‘‘I used to study in 7th grade. The condition of my family was such that I had to start working. I wanted to study, but I couldn’t, and I had to start working. Now I sell vegetables.’’Subhan Ansari
15-years-old Subhan wakes up every morning at 5, not to go to school but to go to a mandi nearby to buy vegetables and fruits which he has to sell later.
COVID-19 and the lockdown impacted Subhan and his family in many ways. His father did not have work so they couldn’t pay the rent. Moreover, his father had to take a loan as they did not have money to buy food supplies.
The loan money and rent kept mounting, making it difficult for Subhan’s father to repay the amount. His father even bought a cart to sell vegetables but he failed to make much money.
Seeing landlords and other people shouting at his parents for not repaying the money, seeing his father unable to work, Subhan took the responsibility of earning a living for his family and started to work.
A sensitive and bright boy, Subhan doesn’t like to share his problems with anyone. He tells his family members also to not tell their problems to the world. Naturally, apart from being nervous, Subhan said that he is feeling bad talking about his family’s condition and the troubles he is living with.
With Just One Smartphone, Not Everyone Could Study Online
A nearby NGO supported the children with one smartphone which is shared by Subhan’s two sisters Fiza and Afreen. While Fiza aspires to be a lawyer, Afreen wants to be a police officer.
Studying has become easy. It’s really good, as we no longer have to go to school or anywhere outside.Afreen Ansari, Subhan’s sister, studies in class 6
Subhan returns home at night, between 8-9 PM which makes it impossible for him to study.
‘‘I go outside to work, that’s why I am not able to study. I also want to study, but I think it will be better if my sisters are able to study, they can do something better with their lives. As it is, it gets difficult to study using only one phone.’’Subhan Ansari
Thinking of his friends who have smartphones, Subhan admits how he feels insecure about being left behind. He wishes to study like them, take online classes on a smartphone but sadly, Subhan finds himself on the wrong side of the digital divide.
Subhan's Dream is to Buy a House for his Family
I wish to get a house of my own. Where my parents will sit peacefully and talk to me. I will feel good.Subhan Ansari
This is how Subhan describes success and happiness, a house of his own where his parents can live peacefully.
At such a young age, Subhan realised the condition and the needs of his family. He knows that in an ideal world he should have been studying and working on becoming a doctor or English teacher but in reality, he has set all this aside.
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