He used to see the rich and well dressed boys, clad in soft, ironed school uniforms, which would be embellished with raw mud by the end of the day. His eyes glinted just like their branded, sparkling shoes, when he saw their mothers shove down boxes of delicious lunch in their branded bags. He would feel the desperate need to protest when the pampered brats would try to squirm away from the arms of their darling mothers, just to avoid being wrapped up in an emotional scene. So stupid all of them, he thought. His heart would heave when they left a teary-eyed woman behind as the school bus zoomed off, a woman who would anticipate their return the whole day. Then, with an inexplicable sigh, he would turn around and merge himself in the lot of the less fortunate, laundering the busy streets.
It has been a while since I have posted. Because I needed some time to formulate my thoughts on this particular subject. As it is probably evident from my first post and through my Bio, I am a relentlessly imaginative teenager. This piece was written by me on a lazy Sunday morning, when a particularly common sight seemed to have a poignant effect on me. Let us call the boy mentioned above Ram. Ram, the son of a cobbler and a maid, had dreams. Dreams that were mocked and ridiculed by his parents, but nevertheless, he dreamed. He did not know that 70% percent of the population of India was below the average poverty line and most of them remained illiterate their whole lives. And thus, he dreamed.
Ram stands in his dirty, torn rags beside his father every day. His father polishes the shoes of some bourgeois gentleman in front of him with adroit. Ram watches the affluent kids of the neighborhood run about in their branded attires, expensive shoes and accessories. Ram watches them ride their new-fangled bikes down the road longingly. Then his father scolds him under his breath and warns him to pay attention. Every Sunday, Ram appears in my neighborhood- woe and dejection etched on his face. Every Sunday, he walks amongst us unnoticed and inapt.
Last month, I came across a website that listed various organizations that try to ameliorate the condition of all the Rams around us. It is a shame that most of us are so accustomed to such spectacles that we do not ponder over this issue. The issue of how to help children like Ram and let them know that their dreams are not “ridiculous” or “preposterous”. The Economic Times states that India’s per capita income is estimated to have gone up to Rs.5729 per month in the year 2012-13. According to Forbes, India is now the home to 57 billionaires (a statistic which left me astounded). And the 2011 India Philanthropy report found that the booming with prosperity Indians are giving away only 1.5% to 2% of their yearly income to charitable institutions.
There are around 80 organizations in India that aim at providing relief to children like Ram and his contemporaries. Through this blog, I aim to create awareness about issues that have remained inconsequential for way too long. Thus, I ask you to take a look at the organizations listed in the following record:
I do not want to use ornamental words or appeal to your emotional or philosophical side, to enforce what I have been trying to convey. I just think it is very important for a human being to not forget his roots. I am open to any debate or suggestions from the readers, but I maintain my stand that our roots go back to teach us to be compassionate, altruistic and magnanimous human beings. After all, there was a time in India when Brahmins survived solely on the basis of charity. And hence I believe it is not too late to bring back goodwill into our society along with a booming economy. And even if it is, better late than never.