The economy of India is the tenth largest in the world by nominal GDP, however, India is still the home of many people living under the poverty line. After coming to India, our view considering poverty has changed remarkably. In Sweden, sometimes people talk about the relative children poverty, meaning children who are living in poverty are the one who do not have enough money spending on leisures, for example: Children who cannot afford for a new computer or who can not hang out on a class-trip. But here in India, we see another form of poverty, the absolute form. People who are living under absolute poverty are the one who can not afford for their basic needs regarding: food, clean water or health care. What we see and observe in India sometimes make us really sad. But despite the hard life in India, we can still somehow find hope and the passion in people and it is really a positive sign.
We want to share the story of Rahis Ali, 19 years old from Mumbai. We met Rahis Ali when he tried to sell Goa’s maps to us. We kindly explained to him that we are not in the need of a map since we have our iPhones and google Map. Rahis had no idea what google map is, but he tried to make us change our minds. We asked him why he goes around and tries to sell map because it is hard to find customers nowadays since most of tourists coming to Goa have smartphones which can connected to Internet and Google map. Rahis did not have any answer to our question. We asked him where he is from, he said he is from Mumbai and we also asked him why he came to Goa and his answer is it is because he wants to learn English: ”You don’t find so many foreigners in Mumbai, but here you can always practice a lot of English. I want to be better in English so later on I can find a better job. I won’t need to sell map anymore” said Rahis with a big smile on his face.
Everyday, Rahis takes the bus from Madgao, the central station to Colva Beach to sell map to foreign tourists. But it depends on if he has any money for bus trips, if his business was bad he would walk instead in order to save money. And the distance from Madgao to Colva Beach is about more than 15 km. Rahis’s working time varies, but it is around 10-12 hours a day. If he got lucky, he could sell 3- 4 maps a day but it can also be that he could not sell any map at all, despite the fact that he walked all day in the sun. Today, when I saw him in the afternoon in front of my apartment. He gladly said Hi to me. I asked him where he is going. He said he is going back home and will take a rest. His business was bad today and he said now he doesn’t have any money for neither lunch or dinner. I emptied my pocket and found 30 Rs to him, the money is just enough for bus trips. Before he left, I asked him if he now has any intention to switch the brand and sell something else. After a short confusion, He shook his head and looked at me, tired but serious. ”I know that this is a hard job, and people don’t like to do it. But it is my chance to learn english. I will not give up. I dream about being big in the future”
We separated, as we might can never see each other again. Rahis’ answer bring me back to three ago when I met my friend Nita’s father in China. My friend’s father is a very success business man. But according to Nita, her father had worked from the bottom up. ”My father started with selling travel bags in the train station, he has worked so hard to be the man he is today, he had a dream and the dream has always being a compass guided him through hardships in life”.
We really hope that the same thing will happen to Rahis. His answer really impressed us, and so did his smile and strong will. We learned a lesson from him: ”Never give up, doesn’t matter how hard life is, a better day will come soon”.
Rahis to the right with his friend, both are from Mumbai