My Ola driver was giving instructions on the mobile to a friend on where to find authentic Bihar "phish phry". The Bengali in me ensued a discussion on food and if dalbati chokha was also available. Yes, all this and more Bihari food is available somewhere in Sector 19 Dwarka. Then the NGO part of me kicked in and I asked him when and how he came to Delhi. Here is my second conversation with a taxi driver that tells a very similar story. The first one was with a Meru driver. In this case the driver Sanjay (now you know your driver’s name) left Motihari in Bihar, rather ran away when he was 11 years old. He had done some "serious" mischief and his father was threatening to kill him. His desperate mother gave him her two gold bangles and told him to run away. He boarded a train to Delhi 23 years ago. A cycle rickshawala took him in, then he worked with a painter and finally landed a job in Sahara airline and the airport. He says he was "ziddi" stubborn and that kept him going. He wanted to build a larger house than his father’s. Which he has done. Now he is married with two kids and has reconnected with his parents. What probably was unsaid is the story of fear, pain and violence. I cannot even begin to imagine what must have been going through his 11 year old head when he arrived in Delhi. The Meru driver too had run away with a friend. They had beaten up their teacher who had been violent towards them. He too is married now and his wife is a nurse. They both landed okay but how many do not. More critically violence drove them away and pushed them to make high risk choices. We in Breakthrough India work in Uttar Pradesh with adolescent youth and our research has thrown up the high level of violence both boys and girls face. The sad part is that it is seen as normal and often passed off as discipline. We need older men and women to now start speaking about the violence they faced as children. How life can be different if there was no violence. Children need to grow up in safe and non violent homes and schools. Let’s start the conversation.

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