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At an empty plot in Madanpur Khadar that doubles up as a park, an unusual sight greets residents — children jumping on a trampoline. It made an appearance two weeks ago, when 15-year-old Arif Khan decided to set it up and earn some money for his family. Khan said he charges Rs 5 for a five-minute go on the trampoline.
The teenager, who lives with his parents and three siblings, said he used to study at a government school in Madanpur Khadar until his name was struck off the attendance list. He went back to re-enrol, but claimed he was turned away as he had “failed more than twice in class VIII”.
Not wanting to sit idle at home, he hit upon the trampoline idea. Apart from helping him make Rs 500-600 a day, the trampoline has led to a fair share of excitement among children in the locality, largely made up of migrant families.
“I alternate between asking for money from my father and my mother, so that I can come and jump here,” said Sumit, 11.
Khan’s father Mushtakim Khan works as an RTV conductor, while his mother is a homemaker. The family moved to the capital from UP’s Bareilly. “My uncle is in the trampoline business, so I asked him to lend me one. I split the money I earn with him, and give the rest to my family… I don’t keep any of it,” said Khan.
His friends Govind Kumar (15) and Dhiraj (14) help him set up and dismantle the trampoline, rushing to the park immediately after school. “We come to help him… When other children aren’t around, we play it ourselves,” said Kumar, who is in Class IX. “Arif wants to perform stunts and come on TV. So the trampoline is good for practise… We, too, are learning from him.”
Last week, the three decided to shift to another park as the current one had turned into a pool of muddy water because of the rain. “We are taking it to a park near our house in pocket A. This one has become dirty and many children have stopped coming. We wanted to shift to a park close by, but were refused permission due to the kanwar yatra,” said Khan.