Variety

No vacancy

HEENA KHAN | Updated on September 08, 2011


Recently I reported on a job festival for the differently-abled in Delhi, organised by the PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

The meeting gave the impression of a fish market. There were nearly 400 applicants trying their luck with a host of employers, many of whom were opting for the least liability, while boasting their commitment to Corporate Social Responsibility.

Candidates with orthopaedic challenges, preferably with higher educational qualifications, are favoured. The mentally challenged and hearing/vision impaired face a string of heartbreaks.

Quiet amidst the swarming crowd was Varsha Gossain, the mother of two sons. The elder one, Krishna, 18, has borderline mental illness. His father has lost both his legs and the family business of manufacturing geysers closed down after running into severe losses. Today, the family lives on the savings of Krishna's grandparents.

Varsha desperately wants a job for Krishna. “ Aap hamari madad karo. Uparwala aapki har ichcha poori karega, (Please help us, God will fulfil all your wishes),” she said, with tears in her eyes. She gave me her son's CV, health certificates and achievements in Special Olympics. We exchange our mobile numbers. I can't tell the mother that I am a beginner in the profession, with no contacts. And, I'm there only to report. To get a good story that will please my boss, make my readers think of me as a sensitive writer and gross many ‘likes' on Facebook!

But Varsha's warmth and desperation had seeped into my bones and her face stayed in my mind and heart. At least until the next day, when I got busy at work and suddenly my phone rang.

Beta, please write about us. Someone might come to our aid. And I will call you whenever I need your advice,” Varsha's warm words fell on my ears. I reassured her I'd try my best.

However, the hollowness of my assurance unsettled me for many hours.

I wonder how many readers will be moved by this story, and, more important, how many will respond.

All through my interaction with his mother, Krishna had looked the other way, probably aware of his limitations and his responsibility as the elder son. His defeated silence conveyed more than Varsha's appeal.

Krishna still has no job.

Published on September 08, 2011

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