Firoz is the name of a poor boy. He lives in a slum. He has two younger sisters. His father is a laborer and his mother works in colony. His sisters are studying in government primary school and after returning home they assist their mother in household works. When I look into Firoz’s eyes I notice it is very tough for him to run his family as a rickshaw driver. His slum is not very far from my residence. I see everyday his father goes out from the slum and waits for getting a work. Firoz is fifteen years old. He is expected to be a student of school but this is really sad to think that he is bound to earn money paddling rickshaw because his family is in crisis. Firoz has accepted the thrashing reality of life. He nurtures a lot of dreams like other boys but luck does not favor him. He drives rickshaw with school-going boys and girls and thinks helplessly like a thirsty bird. He talks with them everyday when they ride on.
I like Firoz a lot because even if he is facing hunger and hardship, I see he keeps smile in his benevolent face. He paddles from early morning to midnight in winter and in hot sunny days he works from afternoon. His father works with others from morning to evening in new rising buildings. Sometimes I ride on Firoz’s rickshaw when I get him. He is very friendly and sincere. In a nutshell, he is honest and devoted. He has taken his work as a significant sign of fight. Of course he is struggling, fighting and somehow surviving. When I see his torn shirt gets wet by sweating, I feel this is called hardship. As a boy he is serious and he has sharply taken the charge of his family as a second thriving person otherwise his family will not run properly.
Firoz expects his sisters will be higher educated. He sees boys and girls are going to schools and they are in delight. He feels them as enchanting as he can dream differently. There is anxiety everyday whether he can earn as per his expectation or not. Firoz thinks many things because he is the only son. He is within a chain where he has to think not only for his own stomach but also to fill up his family members especially his sisters.
Firoz is taking dinner with family and today he is saying to his father that he should not be tensed much and he will work hard so far he can. Firoz’s father is a seasonal laborer. Sometimes he does not get any work. Struggle is the word suits for them. Firoz is eating rice with egg mixed vegetables. He likes vegetables. His mother is a good cook. “Today you have cooked very well mother”, Firoz is saying. His sisters are saying that they have got some money given by the government. They offer Firoz two hundred taka to use this amount as expenses when he becomes hungry or to buy anything he wants. Firoz refuses them and he tells his sisters to preserve this money and in case of health issues they should spend this money. His sisters say him that he is cautious.
Firoz returns home at midnight and he sees that his mother is suffering from fever. His sisters are taking care of their mother. They have bought a packet of bread from a shop and tonight they will eat this. Firoz touches his mother’s forehead. She is burning with fever. Firoz goes out and he finds a dispensary is open. He buys medicine. His mother takes a piece of bread and then takes medicine. Firoz’s father has watered her head. She is sleeping now. Firoz along with his sisters and father are eating breads with water.
Firoz has gone out very early in the morning with his rickshaw. I see he is waiting for passenger. He has seen me as well and he is asking me where I will go. I tell him my destination and he is driving. Firoz questions me what happiness is. He questions me again whether I am happy or not. I reply him that happiness is nothing but your personal state and mental peace. You will not be able to purchase happiness. You see you are poor. To some extent you are not able to change your position in a day but if you have inner power and if you are steady from your mind then you will be able to become someone successful one day. Keep my words in your mind Firoz. Next I tell him that I am happy because I am satisfied within what I have. There is no specific definition of happiness Firoz. You should see below. You should count and consider what you have and what others do not have. Then you will be capable to judge your position.
Firoz is thinking a bit before sleeping. Now Firoz believes that he is not that much under pressure and he is more contented than others lower than him. At least he is not a vagabond. He is earning solid money. Poverty can come anytime to anyone. We earn money to fulfill our hunger and thirst. We compete with others to gain lucrative social status. We all are same in a sense but some are wearing torn clothes and some are wearing expensive. Some are riding car and some are paddling like Firoz.