Vijay Singh Yadav is the Branch manager of Nowgong branch of Samhita Microfinance, a field partner of Milaap. His is 21, married, and youngest among the staff of the branch. We have been having a number of all nights debates on various subjects, ranging from existence of god to the best way to earn the money. Today, the topic of discussion was about the way of life in big cities. I thought that I had an upper hand as I had lived in cities for at least 7 years while he had lived for just 25 days, but boy I was wrong.
Imagine a 15 year old boy, who have just passed 10th standard and have spent his whole life in a small village, with no means to earn money, has an argument with his father and decides to make his own life and leaves the house. Most of us would expect him to come back once his anger subsides, but this did not happen with Vijay.
He decided to go to Vapi near Surat, where some boys from his village worked. Having no money, he sold his mobile for Rs 600 and took another 400 from a relative. With 1000 Rupees and no experience he started his journey. The first hurdle came in the form of railway station. Having never traveled in a train before, he followed the crowd, first at the line to buy tickets and than to grab a seat in the general coach.The first thing he saw in the Surat was the huge buildings and he suddenly realized that the world was different than he has seen in his entire life. He felt lost.
From there he took another train to Vapi. He saw a guy having cigarette at the door of the train and decided to ask him from help. During the discussion with him he realized that the guy was from a village near his and he felt he had finally found a friend in this unknown world and told him the whole story. The guy turned out to be contractor who placed the workers in factories. He took him to a house where other workers stayed and placed him in a factory. His first job was at a thread making factory. There he worked for two days and earned Rs 250 per day. He also got lucky, temporarily. The owner had to get some goods placed in the train urgently. He handed them 50,000 and told them to deliver the goods at any cost. They hired a taxi and told the driver to break all the traffic signals. They were caught by police, but were released instantly, as they gave five thousand rupees to policeman and were able to deliver the goods on time without any delay. He earned 10,000 from this job, but the contractor stole his money when they were out for work and ran away.
He then decided to go to Silvassa near Mumbai, as he had found that some of his friends worked there. His first job there was at a pharmaceutical factory. There, he had to wear plastic clothes all day which made him sweat and the smell of the chemicals got on his nerves. He decided that it was not the job from him.
The next day, his contractor sent him to be a guard at the Mall. The first day was a shock for him. He sat quietly looking at the strange world of the rich people. On the second day an incident happened. A man from financially weaker section of society came to the mall for the first time and was looking at the things. When a guard approached him, he got scared and started running towards the door. This made Vijay suspicious and he smacked him with the weapon that he had been provided. No action was taken against him.
The next day he was transferred to guard an abandoned factory at night. His job was to whistle every time police van passed. He slept on the job and policeman came and poked him hard with his stick for not whistling and verbally abused him. He worked there for one night. He then took the job at a Drum Making Factory. His job was to inspect the drum and stick them with 'OK Checked' Sticker. The work was tiresome and once he slept in a drum on the assembly line and ended up a kilometer away. He left this job after 3 days as he thought that the job was too dangerous.
PCM was a factory that made all kind of caps for bottles. His worked the longest there, for 13 days. His job was to remove the defective pieces the machine made. But one day he and his friends wanted to watch a movie and when they were not given leave by supervisor, they all left the job.
Then was the turn of Coil making factory. He worked there for 3 days. On the second day he injured his finger and went to sit in the AC room. When the supervisor asked him to work again and again, he got emotional and slapped him. He returned to work next day and sat in the AC room for the whole day and left the factory to never come back.
After this he worked at Colgate company and Cello for one day each before he decide to go back to his village. In Colgate his job was to fill the tubes with paste and in Cello his job was to assemble the pen cap. One of the elder boy in his group had fallen in love with a local girl. Fearing their death, they decided to run away from the city. Vijay and some other boys assisted them. In the middle of the night they ran with the girl to the railway station. But the girl's brothers came to the railway station, so they ran away from the station, took lift from a truck to another far away station and came back to the village safely(The girl is happily living with the boy, she never contacted her family). And in next week itself, he started his job at our field partner Samhita.