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Despite gloom, homeless take a crack at New Year's eve
Thursday January 1, 2015 6:48 PM, IANS

It was the firecrackers in the sky followed by some loud noise and cheering from children that reminded Kalyani, a beggar, of celebrations on the New Year's Eve.

But she knew she wasn't a part of these celebrations and perhaps would never be, as long as her life as a homeless continued in Delhi-National Capital Region (NCR).

"I have been living on these streets for the past three years," said Kalyani, who has made the pavement along the Noida Sec 16 Metro station her home.

"Nothing will change about my life. I saw people celebrating, watched firecrackers being burst and then thought about my life and tried hard to sleep amid this celebration," she added.

Like Kalyani, many homeless in the city juggle with the same thought every year and that thought is of survival and dream of a decent life under some shed.

It is the hope that keeps them alive.

"What is New Year? I have no idea. The day I am able to provide food for my family and children, I see that as a happy day," Prem Kumar, who sells toys at Lajpat Nagar crossing, told IANS.

"I don't have many hopes from this cruel city. But life back home in Bihar wasn't good either," said Kumar.

While the bitter cold makes it harder for these homeless to survive on a day-to-day basis, some were warmed up by the generosity of people who distributed sweets and food to them.

For 16-year-old Shera, who lives on a pavement in Mayur Vihar in east Delhi, New Year began on a happy note as he could eat some sweets.

"On a normal day, whatever little we earn by running some errands, we manage to eat potato or dal and rice. But we don't eat sweets often because they are expensive," Shera told IANS.

"But last night some family distributed ladoos. We just got lucky for a night," he added.

Similarly, Shakti, a beggar near Noida Sector 16 Metro station, told IANS that someone gave him Rs.100 and he managed to eat a "decent" dinner Dec 31.

"I had no idea why that person gave me Rs.100. I was surprised. But at midnight, I realised why he had given me money. On streets, keeping a track of time and days becomes impossible," said Shakti.

However, 35-year-old Sanjay from Bihar managed to eat chicken and rice on the New Year's eve.

"A few of us had been saving money for a month to celebrate the New Year's eve. So we cooked and ate rice and chicken," Naseem, a labourer, told IANS.

"We had to get up early for work. So we didn't stay up till late. But we managed to celebrate whatever little we could," he concluded.


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