Shy and quiet, his dark black eyes peeping through his tanned face bedimmed by his greasy, neatly partitioned hair. A very lean body, and although I knew he was young, he looked a little older than his age - was it the work or just his genes, I can't say. His hands small, but strong enough to pull half a tonne weighted camel.
This child was from a small, remote village in India. The families in this village are generally large, with many uncles and aunts staying in one home. The young boys of these families are sent away to attend tourists and give them camel rides on the desert or serve them in restaurants in the neighboring city. And the young girls of these families are sent to perform the traditional dance for these same tourists.
Traditional education is not a priority for these families. They are concerned about making sufficient money for daily survival, which is why they send the kids out to work at a very young age. However, when these kids meet national and international tourists, they learn new languages, become aware of the latest fashion trends, and start to understand the hospitality business. Many of these young boys grow to become business owners later in life.
Gaining responsibility of feeding large families takes aways a kid's childhood away so soon. And although they start learning about more important things early in life, they most likely miss the best phase of human life, childhood.
There are changes needed, and not just in one country, but in a larger part of the society, irrespective of the nation, the religion, or the beliefs - the gap between the rich and the poor needs mending so that the lesser privileged parts of the society can also relish all significant phases of human life, if not more.