At the crossroad
The word crossroads brings to my mind the crossroad in Adayar Chennai. If you know Chennai, it is the cross roads between Adayar and Thiruvanmaiyur at the end of LB road. It was a sultry afternoon and we sat in our Air conditioned SUV windows rolled up.. oblivious to the scorching heat outside. On my lap sat Nantu a little more than a year old at that time. We had stopped at the signal and were waiting for the green light. Nantu started to get excited and started tapping at the window. I looked at what was attracting him so much.
There beyond a few cars stood a lady in rags, carrying an equally bedraggled child of about 2-3 looking so undernourished and sad. As Nantu jumped up and down in my lap beckoning to the kid, the kid stared unswervingly at Nantu. It was an expressionless face that stopped my heart.. I am sure the child was hungry and tired from the heat... but whats more he seemed to be so listless and lacking in energy at such an young age.. This image has stayed with me ever since.. the big round eyes staring at us! On that day, I dug up a few coins and handed it to the lady. The signal changed and we moved on.
I then commented to DH "What was the kids mistake.. just by virtue of his birth he is deprived of the basic necessities and at a similar age our son is bathed in luxuries by virtue of his birth. What an unfair world!!" I went on to say "I blame his parents, did they have to bring him into the world, knowing fully well they couldn't support him". DH responded "Just because they are poor or on the roads do you expect them to stop living? Besides I bet they can't afford protection".
I have thought and thought about how to end this? What do we do to help such children.. each one of us can make a difference.. and many I know try.. by sponsoring a child, by giving monetary support.. but does it help? We still see many such scenes. And it is not just India. I was once in downtown San Jose on a Sunday morning and the number of homeless in the parks there was mind boggling. Will this ever change?