Friday, September 6, 2013

Dried Tears of A Destitute Child

Earlier this afternoon, when I was returning from my chemistry tuition (and a failed attempt to get the contact details of the maiden who has stolen my heart), I was to run an errand at The Milk Bar. After making my purchase of cottage cheese, I saw a little boy in rags, of no more than nine years of age, around whom was draped what looked like an oddly shaped baby monkey. I could swear it was the same nocturnal beggar kid whom my friends had shoved aside, laughing all the while at some hitherto inappropriate joke. Such was the condition of the duo, that I was moved to give the little begging youth a ten rupee note. Paise nahi chahiye. Kuchh khilaa do meri chhoti behan ko, he said. He wanted to buy something to eat for his baby sister (whom I had on casual sight assumed to be a monkey), who looked like she hadn't eaten in days! Feeling somewhat sheepish, I told him that there weren't much things that could be bought for the little child wrapped around his arms. After much deliberation I just told him to buy something for his little sister. It was then that guilt took hold of me, even as I bought a thirty rupee bottle of Appy Fizz and shamelessly drained one-third of it. I felt even more guilty when I found that I could have bought him a samosa or two, so that his little sister could get atleast some solid food.
This is not a new problem in India; more than half our population lives below the poverty line, but seeing it so rampant, in broad daylight, moves one to tears. Little babies who haven't even learnt to speak, are starving to death! Nobody seems to care about this pandemic of poverty. Indeed, most people view this problem in a mocking light. Had I given my ice cream sandwich to the little kid last night, I might have run the risk of becoming the laughing stock of the group! Even our politicians are doing next to nothing about it. Indeed, the only other people who seem to be concerned about it, are the bestelling author Chetan Bhagat, and our very own Aamir Khan sir, who has launched a focussed movement against malnutrition. So next time you have a bit of money to spare, forgo the afterdrinks snacks, and buy a destitute child some food. You will have made a lot of difference in his or her life.

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