Sunday, May 18, 2008

Prisoners of Birth


Have you ever wondered , what would have happened if you were not born in the same family in which you are now ? What would have happened if you were born in a millionaire or a billionaire family? and what if.... you were born to a beggar ?

Today i traveled by local. The journey was usual local types.... cramped spaces, smeely fellow commuters, wind hitting your face, getting all the vibes and feeling the Bombay buzz. Then suddenly at one station 2 girls the older one not more than 8-9 years and the younger one not more than 4-5 got into the train. The older girl was holding two marble pieces. Soon she started singing " Shirdi vaale sai Baba " and beating the two marble pieces in a monotonic rhythm. I wondered then .... most of the girls of her age which i know were probably enjoying a summer camp somewhere- attending drawing, dance , music classes all over the place. There most grave worry might probably be that they didnot complete the drawing or couldnot get a dance step right. While here the biggest worry of the girl was - SURVIVAL. Her biggest fear was not getting enough money at the end of the day to feed her and her sister's stomach.

What was her mistake? That she was born in an improveshid family. That her parents couldnot afford to provide her even 2 meals a day - forget about education and health care. A choice which she definately didnot make. How much can a person's life change by the circumstances that surround him/her. This girl might beg on local trains till she is 13-14. Then get married and work as domestic help in various houses in the city.... that too if she is lucky. Otherwise the lanes which she treads on are dark. And on the other hand a girl who is currently attending various classes has little to worry about and mostly has her future secure.

Soon the girl's song ended ... a station was approaching. The 2 girls divided the compartment going on the either side asking for money. I normally don't pay the beggars but today this time i gave a rupee ( Don't know why...felt like it). Some people took out the money, some ignored them ...some glared angrily at them. They took the money in their tiny hands. As the station approached the older girl held the younger one's hand and alighted the train. Probably to carry the same affair in some other train on the same track.

We talk about justice for all. Equal opportunities for everyone.... every child is special. But what about the injustice which happens at the very start? The girls will never study ... will beg in heat, rain , sun over and over again everyday... Will never get a chance to go to school or college. Who is to blame? There are 13.6 million child workers in India. Think about it ... everyday we might be losing a Kiran Bedi , Indira nooyi and Kalpana chawla to the dusty tracks of local trains.

I want to do something for the children ... but have no idea what to . That time the only thing which struck me was to give the liitle girl a coin.The only thing which i feel now i can do is ... blog about it.
Strange are the ways of the world!
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