The train lurches a little as it pulls out of the station in a pre-sunrise bluish haze. There is just enough light in the second class overnight cabin to see two young boys–couldn’t be more than eight or nine– waddle-walk in and out of cabins, swishing straw brooms in front of them, brushing empty plastic bottles, cookie wrappers, newspapers and food cartons, the detritus of long train trips, out of the cabins and into the passageways. They hesitate long enough for the groggy passengers to give them a few wadded-up rupees or coins before they head to the next cabin.
Compensated for this mornings efforts, the children will get off one or two stations down the track, and catch a train going in the other direction to start the process over again.
It might not seem like much of a job, but for these boys, it is an alternative to street begging. For the estimated 400,000 plus children living on the streets in India, drugs, sex-trafficking, and organized crime are all dangerous traps as are lack of opportunities for proper hygiene, nutrition and education.