Working in India Wasn’t Proper Work.

railway orphan

My year was up, working in India wasn’t real work, Mum said . Never mind the heart breaking Journey to the railway in Salur. Where I was to choose three children amongst the crowd that huddled together, with their kohl blackened eyes and swollen bellies that silently pleaded. Three bodies burned on the pyre as HIV and Tuberculosis claimed them.

The Government bod I was with, covered his nose and mouth from the stench as we ploughed our way through the filth. You can’t choose, it would catch your heart and rip it out, yet I searched the faces and touched three children of varying ages, then we left for the home.

I knew many would die there beside that track and by the time we had bathed and soothed the lucky three; they’d be gone.

A stone marked the spot where a piece of me died in Salur, but it wasn’t

proper work said Mum.

Author Notes

13 Comments for “Working in India Wasn’t Proper Work.”

Tim Hillebrant


Wow, Ellen, just wow.
How does one make that kind of choice?
The imagery here, and the feeling behind it came through loud and clear.
I’d never be able to choose just 3. I’d always feel guilty about the ones I didn’t choose.
Takes a strong heart and stronger soul to do this kind of work.

Nicely done here.


M.L. Bull


Very heart wrenching story. The people in foreign countries go through so much. It takes a lot for people who work in this agencies to help people overseas, but it is worth it if it helps place a smile on someone’s face. Nice job with this piece, Ellen.

~M. L. Bull


Thank you for your comments. I tried to put the enormity of her task without any judgement , maybe we could feel the mild annoyance she had with the Government man.


Your voice is so strong in this piece, Ellen. Your piece is brief, yet it speaks so coldly and clearly. Heart-wrenching. Excellent write. A huge, glaring message is given.

A nit:
-My year was up, working in India wasn’t real work(,) Mum said .

Write On!


Thank s Becky the comma guru, can you just sit alongside as I write? I can’t pay but will feed you and promise to make you laugh until your sides ache. X
Thank you x

Dave Allen


Ellen, this is heartbreaking. Not sure if it’s based on fact, but it ripped my heart out. No nits – too busy crying. Excellent. Just excellent.


Thank you, I worked for a short time in India and a great friend works six months of every year for Brighter future a charity in Southern India. My husband built the aids home for them; Prem Nevis which means house of love. This is a flash based on several peoples account of an actual task that takes place several times a year. One my husband also was asked to do.
To answer your question it is based in truth.

Dave Allen


So sorry its based on truth. But as they say, truth is stranger than fiction. Either way, an excellent write.

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