Just before 7.00am on platform 14 at Chhatarapati Shivaji Terminus, which during British times was known as Victoria Terminus, one of the two daily trains that run between Mumbai and Margao departs. All of the street children who live in this area know this train and all of the street children know that rich pickings are to be had from the hordes of foreign tourists who have to catch this particular train on their journey south to the golden beaches of Goa.
Children wait next to the open windows pushing their arms through the bars or they run up and down the inside of the entire train from carriage to carriage tapping tourists on the shoulder for any loose change, trying at all cost to avoid the eyes of the local police who if they are caught whack them with their long wooden Cain.
Some of the children wait by the food stalls hoping that they will be bought biscuits and cakes which after the train leaves they can then exchange back with the stall holders for Rupees. Sadly and rather ironically most of the children use this money to buy glue which they sniff to help them cope with the pains of hunger.
Every child appears to have lived a life time already and they wear their scars and tattoos with pride.
Jason Scott Tilley