“Now when I see my hard earned money I feel I have dignity and I am also a human being like everyone else” – Sanjay
Sanjay Kumar, native of Barabanki, Uttar Pradesh, has been in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh since 2020. He first came to Lucknow when he was 9 years old when he started working at a tea stall to ensure his survival. He started working from a young age as he lost his mother in his infancy and his father at the age of 9 due to terminal illness. He has two brothers, his elder brother under bad influence got addicted to substances such as marijuana and alcohol and his younger brother was traded to human traffickers by his neighbors and never found again. He was alone and to survive he had to take up work at a tea stall. Taking advantage of his situation his neighbors encroached his property at his native place and when he protested he was beaten badly. He prioritized his safety and left the village forever and started working as a truck driver for a company in a nearby village. With a quiver in his throat and moist eyes he reminiscences his old days and shares memories of his lost love with a girl whom he met when he was working as truck driver, but could not succeed in marrying and building a future together as the girl’s father was against their marriage and decide to fix her marriage with some other man in the village. This perpetuated his existing misery and this loss seemed unbearable to him. One day while he was driving , he was in so much emotional pain and got so immersed in his thoughts about his loss that his attention diverted from the road and he lost his control from the steering wheel, resulting in a collision with a truck and an accident. He managed to survive 5he accident but was severely injured and was on bed rest for 3 months. After recovery he once again resumed his work of truck driving but the Covid-19 lockdown in the year 2020 resulted in him losing his job as a truck driver. He tried looking for some other work but couldn’t succeed and due to his ailing health he was unable to do jobs requiring immense physical labour. Having no other option in front of him, he resorted to begging to ensure his survival and started sitting near Hanuman Setu temple in Lucknow to beg for alms. Describing his chronic crisis in all facets of life like relational, psychological, occupational he with a lump in his throat and quiver voice says “…….”
Now after associating with Badlav I have my own micro business of selling puffed rice with roasted chickpeas (laiyya chana) from which I earn 300-350 per day. When I was begging I could barely earn 56-60 per day and whatever I used to earn was spent on purchasing substances like alcohol and marijuana. However now when I see my hard earned money I feel I have dignity and I am also human being like everyone else.