Aymana, the balloon seller, is bent under the weight of life
Old woman Aymana Begum (65) stands in front of various shops holding colorful balloons. If you see a child in a car or rickshaw, run with the balloon. Can’t walk for long with a diseased body. He gasps when he walks a little. Can’t stand for long due to back pain. You have to sit down and rest every now and then. At the end of the day, after selling balloons for 500 to 600 rupees, he returned home with a tired body.
Aymana Begum sells balloons in Jindabazar, Bandarbazar, Chowhatta and Amberkhana areas of the city. He told Prothom Alo that he bought 500 balloons at once from Bandar Bazar wholesale shop in the city. He took it home and filled it with air and tied five balloons together and sold them for 10 taka. If it rains, the sales are less. Some days sales are good. But the family does not survive on a small income.
Aymana Begum was born in Madan Upazila of Netrakona. This is all the information he knows. I don’t remember anything more. He told Prothom Alo that his father died before he was born. He lost his mother at the age of seven. Then he came to Sylhet city along with a relative of the village and his 10-year-old only brother. He started living in a slum in Sheikhghat area of the city. After some time, the elder brother left him to work in a house and went to Dhaka. Since then his life of suffering began.
Had a conversation with Aymana Begum last Friday night at Zindabazar intersection of the city. He said that he is carrying the sorrow that started in his life before he understood anything. Worked in people’s homes all his life. Once married and raised a family. Husband died, that too many years ago. Now he is of age. Various diseases have settled in the body. Can’t work in other’s house anymore. So he is selling balloons to survive.
Aymana Begum’s hope was to reach a certain stage of life and reach happiness. He said, he was saving some money by working. After marriage, she bought her husband a rickshaw with this money. But the forehead did not change. The husband died leaving a son and two daughters. After that, he started spending days with his children. Raised children by working in people’s homes.
Aymana Begum now lives with her children in the city’s Sheikhghat Kalapara slum. There are seven members in the family now.
He said, son is married. He has a wife and a child. The elder of the two girls is hearing impaired. He married her. have a child As her husband died, she now lives with Aymana Begum with her children. Being disabled cannot do any work. Due to lack of money, he is unable to marry his younger daughter.
Aymana Begum also said that the boy sold tea by walking in flux. And he sells balloons. Both have to run the family with the money they get together. However, in this income, the situation is “running out of salt”. 5000 taka per month for house rent. Due to lack of money, products often have to be brought from grocery stores. In some months, the house rent has to be left.