Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Blog Action Day-To Pick or not to Pick

It is Blog Action Day today, and the topic is Poverty.

Jasdeep introduced me to the site and IHM inspired me to do a post on the issue. She has done an excellent post. You can read it here. I am travelling in about an hour and would have loved to do a post on the matter. However, IHM is kind enough to suggest that I re-do a post on the child I saw on the road.

The child was barely 11 months old. She sat in the middle of the road to my place. She was clad in a thin frock, she had dirty patches on her skin and her nose was running. Her eyes had big blotches of kohl. A small Ziploc bag having 5 or 6 mangoes was lying close to her. There were a couple of pieces of Indian bread (roti) wrapped in a piece of cloth lying next to her.

I was coming by car, I saw her from afar. I thought someone with her would pick her up just in time. I stopped the car very close to her; there was that fearless look in her eyes that you associate with innocent ignorance. There was enough space for me to drive by her , but I was afraid I might hurt her in case she suddenly lunged towards the car. I came out of the car looking for the mother, or a possible guardian, which I presumed was a beggar. Finding none, I picked up the child as lovingly as I possibly could. There was a little room on the side of the road. I make her stand there and sat near her, asking where her mama was. She was dazed, she didn’t even cry when I picked her up. I touched her cheek, I m amazed it didn’t take much effort to touch her dirty cheek though I am always finicky about my kids being always clean. Then I picked her mango-packet and placed it next to her. As I went to pick the pieces of bread, I saw a scooter coming from the other side. The young boy might just have crushed the bread and rode off. I almost bullied him into stopping and picked the bread, wrapped it in the piece of cloth and placed it next to the child. My car in the middle of that small approach road - I sat with the girl, painfully aware that in case she was an abandoned child, I would not be able to leave her like that and go home. In that split second, I tried to weigh all the options I had, in case I had to do something about an abandoned child. Once again, I tried to look for someone who had left her there.

I wondered, hungry myself, who could have the heart to leave her like that? Meantime a waif of a woman, carrying another infant, a girl less than 2 months, on her side, came there. I was so angry that I wanted to slap her. I think I was louder than I normally am, “ Kaun hai tu? Yeh teri bacchi hai? (Who are you? Is this child yours?)” She had an expression of a dog just kicked. Sheepishly she pointed towards a gate, “ Haan, woh main wahan se kapde lene gayee thi. (yes, well, I had gone to get clothes from there)” There meant two girls standing near a bike. I guess those girls had promised her some garments some other day and today was the day of the fulfillment of that promise. I was least interested in her donors. “Tumne bacchi ko beech sadak mein bithaya houa tha, koi kuchal deta toh? (You had made the child sit in the middle of the road, what if someone had crushed her?) She again mumbled an ashamed answer. My anger was mounting up, I don’t know why. I almost shouted at her, “If you couldn’t take care of her, why did you give birth to her?” Immediately I regretted having said that. If she had a choice, she wouldn’t be a beggar. If she had a choice, she would probably not have given birth to a girl child. After all, then she would have had the choice of Pre-Natal Sex-determination.

Seeing me shouting at that woman, a man came towards me. He tried to add fuel to the fire. “A couple of minutes ago, when I came with my car, she had made the younger one sit in the middle of the road.” I was so full of my own wrath that I hardly paid any attention to him, which I know he didn’t like.

I wanted to yell at her, “If the wheels on the road leave her alive, the predators roaming about won't. She would be raped, maimed, abused and left to bleed and die. Why did you leave her alone on the road?” But I didn’t say that. I just said, “Dhyan rakha karo is ka” (Please take care of her). My voice was sounding more like a request than an angry shout I had meant it to be.


Indian Home Maker said...

Loved this post of yours :)

Manasa said...

Good initiative :)

Indian Home Maker said...

Read it afresh, and it moved me all over again.Specially the 'waif' like mother and her reacting like a dog who has just been kicked!
Heart breakingly sad.

RiverSoul said...

Blog action day?
Whats that?
I've not heard of it Bfore but i'd love to know more abt it.
Your post has sobered me out of my usual random musings.
Poverty is one evil that can only be fought with unity and care.

But what are we really doing?

I'm ashamed of myself now, after reading your post.

Just how many people would have done what you did if they happened to be in your position today?

What shook me up is that, after a little self-evaluation, I realised that I could easily have been that young boy on the scooter, ignorant, uncaring, uncouth. . . .

Thankyou for opening my eyes to the reality that is India.

Pinku said... u managed to write after all...knowing your schedule today must say great effort!!!

Anonymous said...

this was the first i stumbled on when I first visited ur blog, its a heartfelt post!

EXSENO said...

That is so sad and scary. It's seems that poverty is becoming worse and worse everywhere.

Anonymous said...

Poverty is a big problem on International level but India faces more acute type of this problem.
Its a debatable topic.

Your posting can work as a deep concern on the issue.

The poor lady in this posting is a glare example of poverty, begging etc.
She needs a shelter, may be in a Nari Niketan or Destitute Centre,
where she can live safely with her kids, otherwise her daughters will be forced to follow the path of begging like mother.

Touching this universal problem is a healthy sign.
It can be a lesser evil, if every House Wife tries to save the food instead of throwing in the garbage as a left over, or if we all pledge not to waste the food in Kitty parties, in marriages parties etc. showing our lavishness or carelessness,or snobbery, thus will be a big saving for the 'have nots'.

I always remember my mother's words, 'Beta, not to leave a bite of roti in your plate,because there are people who have to satisfy with empty tummy at night, so respect food by not wasting it.'

I follow these words till date.

I like your idea re-posted here.

Keep it up!


Gazal said...

don really know..who's at the helm of this vicious cycle....

do these people have a choice...after a point they must be feeling so inhuman....

can we not sure??

glad you blogged about it.

Anonymous said...

so...what are the issues for our next election? Ram mandir, Masjid, Church burning, Religious conversion, Marathi manhoos, mayawati's statues, cheerleaders skirt length, discrimination based on religion, region, caste, sex.....

does the woman and the child you mentioned figure anywhere in the election manifesto of any one of the parties? it doesnt.

you know why? its not a sexy enough issue.

Aaarti said...

Wow, that was so raw n more than a reality... i have done something similar to a child i saw standing in the middle of our road looking lost and alone!!

God, i wish there was something we could do to make their lives better!!

DeeplyDip said...

my heart goes out to this child...makes me wonder how some of us have all the luxuries in life while the others land up on the road uncared for.
Hope the mom looks after her now though it seems quite doubtful...

Mampi said...

IHM-It was your idea anyways, I had forgotten all about it.

Manasa-yes, this is a good initiative, lets all participate.

RiverSoul-You're so candid in your confession. I think I also acted that day in that fashion, maybe in another circumstances, another day, i would have acted differently. We are all human beings.

Pinku-Well, it was more of CnP job.

Tulips-So this post will remain our bonding place.

Exseno-In India, it is a bad scenario especially in the light of the globalisation.

Mama-yes, it would be great if we could just save up the food, and teach our own kids not to be wasteful.

Gaz-I am sure we can help. If we start doing something more than just writing about it.

Philip-You are so right. But isnt it time to tell them that THIS is the issue to talk next.

aaarti-Yes, anyone with a heart would do that-thora kam thora zyada. Welcome to my blog, keep dropping by whenever you can.

DeeplyDip-Yes, hope her mom takes care of her.

PARRY said...

Read the post again. It was really nice and brave of you. You acted as your heart desired otherwise how often our mind comes up with so many reasons for not acting the way you did.
kudos to you.

Imp's Mom said...

sad, sad reality of our beloved country... I'm at a loss, have no idea what to say... your gesture was really beautiful, I;m sure quite a few vehicles would have passed uncaring...

oceanic mirages said...

ah well, bereft of words what do i say, its one of those experiences that leave you silent, dazed, angry,depressed and also thankful to god, for what we have.
i guess the only way to fight such plague at a personal level is to spread as much awareness as we possibly can to such people.
all we have to do is try.

Manish Raj said...

Hey Mampi

You are a gem. Thank God, I know you.

May God bless you.


Anonymous said...

Very very moving...stark reality of India presented by this one small example

Anonymous said...

oh i like this concept of blog action day...watever it is,since i have heard of it for the first time.

loved your story when you then and love it now too!

Ritu said...

You have been tagged. Do visit my blog and collect it.

zirelda said...

What a story. As poor as I have seen people here, I have not seen any as poor as the woman you show in this story.

Much food for thought.

Thank you for stopping by my blog. It is very good to meet you.

Monika,Ansh said...

Hey Mampi, I was really moved by your post. There is so much we could do but we are so engrossed in our everyday lices that we do not get the time. Sure, we donate money but not labour.

Mampi said...

Parry-Yes, heart is what I followed. Some of us said it was illogical but I dint try to find logic.

Imp's Mom-I just could not go by her. I dont know why.

OcMi-Yes, only and only personal efforts will yield results. No government can do enough.

Manish-Thank you so much. You always manage to encourage me.

Kiran-Yep, it is just one of the countless things that happen around us.

Mandy-It IS wonderful. The blog action day people say we will come back next year. I feel we should do it every month on one topic.

Ritu-Tag Picked. Already Mandira tagged me on it about a month ago. Now U too, Brutus? That means I must must must do it this week.

Zirelda-There are poorer people than this one-I see them everyday. That breaks my heart everyday.

Monika, Ansh-Yes we need to do more than we are already doing. said...

i like the idea of doing this on a monthly basis...or may be once in two months or something..

winter sun said...

'dhyan rakha karo is ka'....this short sentence conveys sooooo much. concern was never so painfully expressed.