Varun Kaushik

Interview by Adam Barr in Delhi

My name is Varun Kaushik. I’m seven years old and I don’t know when I started having asthma. I had a bad cough last week. Today it’s better. I missed school for two weeks when I was small because my body hurt a lot. My parents took me to the hospital, I was very sick. My breathing was very poor. There is a lot of smoke here and dust too. When my father comes into the house from work, I can feel how much dirt there is on his clothes. It is the same when a car drives past me. In this area, the roads are very narrow and dusty. I remember before the monsoon every time a car drove down the street the air became very dusty and hard to breathe, I always cover my mouth with my hand. You could also see and smell the exhaust fumes. In the winter, when the sky is very dark and pollution is high, I get very tired and sick.

I remember my mum took me to the hospital last winter because I was breathing very fast and feeling very sick. It was after Diwali and my neighbours were playing with firecrackers all night. My parents asked some of the neighbours to stop but the whole city plays with them. I couldn’t breathe, I used my inhaler but I couldn’t breathe. It was horrible. Even when I came out of hospital, I used my inhaler a lot last winter because of the air. Sometimes I have headaches and my chest can feel squashed. In the night it is bad too; I cough every night.

In the future, we will have a new city, that is very clean and very smooth. There will be some spaceships landing here in Delhi and flying to the moon. The vehicles will be electric so they are not creating any smoke. Also we will live inside and travel through special pipes, so the air will be clean. The air-conditioned air is easy to breathe so there will be no problems. I think it will be fun.