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Reflections on Reality!

Melting Desserts

After a very late dinner we walked up to an ice cream parlor. An odd place to visit in the middle of the night, had it not been for sleepless Mumbai! And mind you we did have company there whenever you feel you’re doing something odd there is nothing when compared to the pleasure of finding a company. But I should say our pleasure was topped with a greater degree of surprise when we saw who our company in the lonely shop at the middle of the night was..



There were three of them the eldest being not a tad more than 12 years and the youngest just 5 or lesser than that and I should say the age would be of lesser concern. The major concern was that they were one among the number of beggars that flood the streets in India. They had begged in the morning for a piece of bread to sustain their lives and here they were in the middle of the night to have a sumptous dessert. Do we not throw them coins of charity? be it coz of the prick of conscience they so efficiently evoke by a dirt soaked body and tear soaked cheek or be it just the haste to drive them away whilst you can romance uninterrupted. Well I know not whether they had their share of a meal that day, but I knew they had come for their share of a dessert. We had settled down for just a single scoop each not without commenting how we ought to cut down our unwanted expenses. However the tiny tots did not seem so wary and I half expected them to be. They had chosen 2 different scoops each and were picking other packed choco bars. And as I fumbled through my bag for the fifty bucks our scoops had cost us I heard her “chutta hoga 5 sou ke liye?” not sure whether I heard it right I looked at her palms outstretched with a real 500 Rs note!. Well why do I want anyone to pinch me to make sure I’m not dreaming? It could’ve been their earning (through begging) for the day, not forgetting that it ought to be 50% more than the average workers salary, or it could’ve been that they just stole it!! Whichever the course – it could not have been a promising one for the growing buds of the nation!

I would have smiled or even been happy for them for the whale of time these tots were having at the ice cream shop if only the picture of their future melting faster than any ice-creams was so vivid. The picture is clear – professional beggars or lambs for the greater professionals who would amputee their arms or legs and place them in the middle of any crowd. Yeah they no doubt would achieve immense expertise in tickling a pain in our hearts and make us throw a coin. I had a friend of mine from Poland visit India last year, India he agreed was one of the best places he had visited. He was an avid traveler who can boast of having covered almost 100 countries by now. I asked him why he didn’t bring his wife along and the answer really shocked me. She had fallen ill last time she visited India seeing the beggars and their plights on the street that she resolved never to visit India ever again. . I could say nothing but hope with all my heart that never in their lightest jokes would they have ever given India a sobriquet of – the land of beggars,,,or for that matter never do so. Not that I pretend to be queen Elizabeth and ask “not even a piece of cake?” I wish begging only would no longer be considered as an art in our country and the growing buds not be crushed and denied of a spring wherein they deserve to bloom.

I reminisce the dream of a beautiful India that was instilled in me as each morning I was to pledge that I’m proud of It’s rich and cultural heritage. Now I’m puzzled, if today becomes tomorrow’s heritage will there be anything left to be proud of? Since the laws the state has made against begging are only pieces to adorn the law books, will there be any innocent hearts to take pride whilst a large chunk will be flocking in the streets for alms.!!!! If we can realize that child labor is a crime.. it’s high time we realized that child begging is a greater shame.!!

October 8, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments