They speak Telugu, a sprinkling of Malayalam and occasionally a little Tamil. They wear torn, soiled and often oversized clothes. Their hairs are uncombed, faces are tainted. They live the moment. And survive on the margins of life — on the edges of roads in the city.
On the birthday of Jesus Christ, a section of street children in the city rejoiced with gusto the advent of the Saviour.
They sang and danced around a make-believe crib and a Christmas tree. They ate cake and had a full meal, courtesy the Theruvora Pravarthaka Association, the one-man mission launched and run by Murugan.
Murugan, for starters, is a street kid-turned-autorickshaw driver, photographer, writer and social worker.
Murugan organised the Christmas celebration for the children living in the igloo-like cardboard-and-plastic huts along the national highway near Kundannoor. All the inmates in these huts hail from one village, Venkatachalam, in Nellore district of Andhra Pradesh. They come in groups after the monsoon rains end here and stay on until the next monsoon season starts.
These tribal Koraga families arrive with the raw materials for making brooms and ‘bharani’ (containers for storing pickles).
While the adults make bharanis and brooms and sell them on the roadside, the children just fool around or beg in the streets.
Due to the seasonal migration and travels of their parents, most of these children are unable to attend school.