Vida Amala Khumar is my name. I am 11 years old. I live in India, in Mumbai, with my family.
We live in a poor section of the city. Even though we do not have much, we are rich because we have love and we are very close to one another. I live in a ramshackle hut with my Ma, my father (Da), our elderly grandmother, my older cousin Sita and her baby boy Mohandas, and my three little sisters Kamala, Indira, and Preeti. They are 9, 7, and 4.
I do not go to school. Too far to walk from where we live and besides it is much too dangerous. Therefore, Ma and Sita are my teachers; they are the ones who teach my sisters and myself of anything we need to know. They are excellent teachers and myself and my sisters are good students.
Where I live is very hot. Garbage and animals are everywhere; this is what makes our area so bad. Disease and sickness often run rampant: cholera, malaria, leprosy, even measles and tuberculosis. It is not uncommon to see dead bodies rotting in the streets or seeing rats running everywhere. Our area of Mumbai is very ugly, but to me it is home.
I often wish our family had money. I hate to see us without clean clothes or decent, fresh food to eat; I hate having the other kids in the neighborhood laugh at me and throw stones at me because I do not have what they do. I have very few toys or possessions to play with; I'm always stealing from the other kids, which gets me into trouble .... and a beating from Ma. Da would beat me too, but he's not well; he has TB and is homebound; Ma often has to take care of him in addition to taking care of us when Sita is too busy.
When I grow up I would like to be a mother like Sita or a teacher like Ma. I think I would be a very good mother to my children. I would like to have two boys and two girls.
I like to write stories, read (have two books to my name: Alice In Wonderland, which is very silly, and the Bible, but the Bible is too hard to read; so many words!! I wish they had a Bible for children; there are many words in there that I do not understand the meanings of.
Well, I have to help Sita with Mohandas; Mohandas is crying again and needs attention. I will write in here again soon; take care and God bless!