Tuesday, February 27, 2007


I live in Bombay ( Mumbai, if you like). It has been a year now.

And every day I travel by an auto from my home to my place of work.

This 15-20 mins of my life have proved to be the best education that I have ever got and am still getting...( Ah...you are thinking there is someone else going to write about the traffic jams, travails of travelling, mumbaikar spirit etc etc...Hmmm...I am not going to write about any of this and more, there are lots of intelligent and not-so-intelligent people commenting, raving and ranting about all this, so much so that i dont know what to make out of it !)

Well, I am just going to write about what I see, without judging and what I feel, without embellishment...

I regularly see a boy begging with a small child tied in a cloth around him with an empty feeding bottle in his hand. The boy must be around 11-12 yrs and the small child about 4-5 months old.

We all encounter worse scenes of poverty in our everyday life and most of us feel angry,sad, sympathetic ( and maybe give them a coin or two or something to eat, if we are not staunch opposers to begging or for some they are thieves) ...I am not an exception. I have also been conditioned into seeing with unseeing eyes and quieting my conscience after some moments when my attention gets distracted...

This was different.

For sure, it was not any peculiarity or striking character of the two children that have struck me...they are ordinary and do the ordinary tricks to get your attention...neither is it that I suddenly feel the need to be more humanitarian. This has stirred something more basic, something more primitive and elemental, which I do not know.

Everyday I search for these kids when I reach the signal..I hope to see them, and feel relieved if I do. For them, I represent the rich, the 'haves', the unfairness of life. I may donate, volunteer, help as much as I can. It is not enough. Anything I do will not change this. And the truth remains.

Will they always remain beggars...grow up to be thieves and goondas, maybe ? Will they always go hungry to sleep..? Will they ever have a new dress...a toy....a home ? Will they ever laugh..learn..read..write...? Will they ever have the innocence of childhood ?

Can I change any of this..the present...the future...can I give them hope... ?

The small child is always sleeping when I see them. When he awakes, will I be able to look him in the eyes ? Will you be ?


Anonymous said...

Its nice to see some one actually writing about it.

Its a situation which we all should be ashamed of. Even so called poor countries have better track record of treating its citizens with respect. In india the whole apathy is shocking.

I am also being honest when i say that i am a hypocrite at some level since while I feel for the not so fortunate I have rearly done anything to improve the situation. I guess it will hold true for most of us.

While pity is the emotional response for most of us, i think little thought would translate that into anger towards the power ruling us from the from the various legislatures.

sunita's world said...

Santhi, I was actually visualising the whole scene through your words...I've seen such things so many times as well...have felt helpless on so many occasions...

Kiran said...

Its true that we see these scenes umpteen number of times in our daily lives. But its also true that at some point of time, the inner voice within us gets louder; and many-a-times, we fail to comprehend; or just ignore.!

I went through emotions very similar to the ones you mentioned; and decided to put it into words in this post.

Madhukar said...

liked what you have written, both for its honesty and sensitivity...

there are things that one can also do beyond that. Here are a few instances:

Childline India

Project Why


...and many more

Cinnamon said...

What you have written is 100% truth.. and I liked the way u have written it.. with honesty!!! And I am glad that u started to write abt it, so that, as u said we will begin to think!!!