Give a brief account of the life and activities of the people like Saheb-e-Alam settled in Seemapuri.
Seemapuri is a settlement of more than 10,000 rag pickers. It is a place on the Periphery of Delhi. Those who live here are squatters who came from Bangladesh in 1971. They live here without an identity and without permits. They do have ration cards that enable them to vote and buy grain. Food is more important for them than their identity. Children grow up to become partners in survival. And survival in Seemapuri means rag-picking. Through the years it has acquired the 'proportions of a fine art'. An army of barefoot children appears in the morning with their plastic bags on their shoulders. They disappear by noon. Garbage has a different meaning for children. For them, 6it is wrapped in 'wonder'. They may find a rupee even a ten rupee note or a silver coin. There is always hope of finding more.Seemapuri may be on the periphery of Delhi yet it is miles away from it, metaphorically. It is a little hell. Rag pickers live in structures of mud. They have roofs of tin and tarpaulin. There is no sewage, drainage or running water. It is unimaginable that it is a part of Delhi, the capital of India.
Answer the following question in 120 – 150 words:
Garbage to them is gold. How do ragpickers of Seemapuri survive?
Seemapuri is a place on the outskirts of New Delhi. Those who live there are unlawful residents who came from Bangladesh in 1971. It is a place where about 10,000 rag pickers live. They live without identity and have no basic amenities, yet they are happy here because they get food which is more important than identity. It is a slum where they could find many things and rag picking was their only means of survival.
Rag picking was the means of survival for the rag pickers. According to the author, it is their daily bread, a roof over their heads, even if it is a leaking roof. Thus, it is equivalent to gold for them. Besides, for the children it is wrapped in wonder for they, at times, chance upon a rupee, even a ten-rupee note.
Garbage was a means of survival to the people of Seemapuri. However, it had a different meaning to the children, for whom it was a mysterious package that held unknown valuables.
What job did Saheb take up? Was he happy?
Saheb had left rag picking and he took up a job at a nearby tea-stall. He was not happy working at the tea stall because he had lost the freedom of working at his own terms. So, he lost his 'carefree look'. Even though he earned 800 rupees and all his meals, he was less contented than before.
What did garbage mean to the children of Seemapuri and to their parents?
For adults rag picking was only a means of survival but for children, a lot of excitement was associated with the same for they often found unexpected things as a ten rupee note in the same. There was always a hope of coming across unexpected surprises and so garbage was wrapped in wonder for them.