By Prem Phyak
Rabindra was ten when he went to Kathmandu. He was surprised to see so many cars, buses, and motorbikes. He had never seen such crowds of people in the street. Street lights and supermarkets were amazing for him. Because he was a village boy, he was frightened to walk in the street alone because of the heavy traffic.
Rabindra, his parents and two sisters had no money for home so they made a small shelter of bamboo and old rice sacks under the bridge of the Bagmati River.
It was a hard time for Rabindra’s family in Kathmandu. They had nobody to help them. Rabindra’s father started collecting used bottles, metals, plastics and papers. He visited different places from the morning to the evening. He sold what he found to the recyclers.
Before he went to Kathmandu, Rabindra was studying at Grade 3 in the village. He was very good in his study. But he couldn’t continue his study in Kathmandu. He had to help his father to collect plastics from the dumping site which was nearby their shelter. Sometimes he also took his two sisters. They were so happy when they found something to eat from the garbage.
Rabindra loved the old books he had found in the dumping site. He had kept them so safely. He read stories for his parents and sisters from the books every night.
One misty cold morning, he was raking through the piles of rubbish when he saw a book underneath a dirty black plastic bag. He pulled the bag off and cleaned its cover with his sleeve. There was a beautiful green colour book. The title of the book was ‘A Poor Boy’. He wondered if it was about a boy like him. He looked at the first page of the book. It was written: BE HONEST, WORK HARD, YOUR FUTURE IS BRIGHT.
He read some pages of the book in the dumping site. He knew that the story in the book was similar to his own story. He told the story to his parents and sister at night.
One sunny Saturday morning, Rabindra found an old small leather bag. He picked up and opened it. There were some pieces of gold, some money and important papers. He rushed to the shelter with the bag. He told his father about the bag.
They opened the bag again. They found the name and phone number of the owner of the bag. They went to the nearest police office and asked them to telephone the owner of the bag.
After a while, an old man arrived in his car at the police office. He saw Rabindra and his father holding the bag. He was so happy to see his bag.
The old man took his bag. He wanted to take Rabindra and his father back to their home in his car.
The gentleman requested them again. He took them in his car to their shelter. The gentleman was so shocked when he saw the poor condition of where they lived and worked. He was impressed by the honesty of the family. He wanted to help them.
The old man wanted to take all the family to his own house. Rabindra’s father didn’t agree because it might be difficult to continue collecting for recycling.
Finally, Rabindra’s father agreed with the old man’s request to help Rabindra in his study. Rabindra joined school at Grade 4. He started writing stories about his own family. He read all the story books he had collected from the dumping site. He finished his higher education with very good grade.
Rabindra and his family left their village to go to Kathmandu. They left their village because they didn’t have their own land, home and they were very poor. Rabindra was very sad to leave to school. He loved reading and particularly he loved reading books and stories.
Now he is a famous story writer. His books are all about poor people and their children. He has earned enough money to buy a small house and feed his family.