It was somewhere in the middle of an arid region, some twenty-thirty families used to live without any proper shelter and protection against the adversities of nature. They slept in open and barely had any proper cloth protection to protect themselves from rain or winter. Whatever food they had to eat was by cleaning the garbage thrown outside the city walls. In a way, they ate the discarded food, the left over ones or sometimes when conditions became drastic, they slept through the night with empty stomach.

One day a group of social service people came to pay a visit to that area but they were shocked when they confronted those people. They were dumbfounded to see that they lived in such bedraggled and poor conditions with no amenities and comfort of a good livelihood. “How can these people even live in this place? I just can’t even imagine spending a day here, let alone living here!”, Kamal, a member of the group suddenly said while his eyes scanned the area. “Kamal we are not here to live. We are here on a social service assignment and I hope you too are here for the same reason. So let’s concentrate on that”, the team leader said in a stern voice while sending glares at his direction. He flashed a sheepish grin and went to fetch the blankets and food packets they had brought with them.

The families of the arid region were on cloud nine when they saw that these young city people had come for their betterment and would be giving them a blanket and some decent food. The children were jumping in ecstasy while their parents had tears of joy in their eyes seeing the kids happy for the first time. It was very rare for them to be happy. “Hello everyone. My name is Reyansh and this is my team. We have come from the city and we will provide you blankets and food. I hope you all will accept these little gifts from us and bless us”. The people cheered amongst themselves and soon they started distributing everything.

All five of them stared at how people were savouring the food as if they were uncertain when they would again receive such decent food. Suddenly three old couples came towards them with two kids following them. Reyansh along with the others stood up and walked towards them, meeting them half way. “Uncle, Aunty is everything alright?”, Reyansh asked with concern in his voice while looking warily at them. One of the old man smiled and ruffled his hair to which he let out a playful shriek. “Everything is more than being alright. I don’t know in what way to pay gratitude to you. I have been here since my birth and never have seen anyone coming here and giving us all this. I don’t think a mere thank you will be enough for the things you gave us today, but still I thank you from every one’s behalf for giving us a chance to smile and see our children and grand children smiling”, the old man told genuinely and there was a glint of pride and appreciation in his trembling voice.

The rest of the day passed in a blur and the five boys went back to the city. That day they decided to do something for them. Earlier throughout the day they talked with people and got to know what they wish for, what they want from their lives and everyone’s answer was same. They needed a reason to live for and smile. And so they decided to help them. It was after one month when they again arrived at the place and the people there thought they had again brought something. However their faces fell as soon as they noticed no truck had followed the black car. “Hello everyone. Today we are not here to give food or blanket to you. Today we are here to give you something else”, Reyansh told them as if a leader was leading his clan.

He looked back and forth at his team and when everyone nodded he stated, “From past one month we have worked hard to gather money and we did too. We have got people who will pay for us”. This rose hackles amongst them when the same old man spoke up, “What pay and why are you saying this all to us?” Reyansh smiled and forwarded a big blue rolled paper in front of them. “We have talked with the Government officials and when they learned about you all, they were ready to help us. We will be extending the city upto this place, converting this open arid field into something so beautiful that will give you a hope of living, a reason to smile once again. You won’t have to worry anymore about your children”, Reyansh told them when shock marred all of their faces.

“Yes we did a very small thing by giving you food when you all gave us the most precious things, a genuine gratification and a thank you that we don’t usually get. We have heard what your problems were and now we want to act for eradicating them and giving you all what you deserve”, said Reyansh. As soon as he completed his statement, everyone cheered and thanked the group. No one perhaps had ever seen them happy and if it wasn’t for them, these people would have never got to know what a livelihood is.



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