Sunday, September 9, 2007

Little things work big !!!


Sunday morning, morning stroll, cold and somewhat wet breeze…..thele ki chai. These are perfect settings. We guys have a seat discussing how Robin Uthappa made the day the last day by hitting two fours in the last over, and how exuberant young blood adds to cricketing excellence. Meanwhile, shaun[a friend] shouts out “chhotu ….teen chai” and I am left wondering how this whole species of waiters across uncountable chai-thelas got the name chhotu. My friends discussing crappy newspapers with such interest slowly faded from my thoughts and I started observing chhotu.

Three fingers partially dipped in tea, and a feeble support of the thumb enabling him to hold on to 3 tea glasses in each hand. He served us tea. A worn out shirt, followed by dirty knickers and bare feet was the output of my head-to-toe scan of this lad standing waist high. I got the answer …the name chhotu seemed justified. I though, was amazed to see how cheerfully that child was doing all what he does. He serves tea and poha, cleans up everything , collects the emptied glasses and when you offer him money he redirects you towards the owner of the thela . And in the process, he seems perfectly at ease with no regrets at all.

Sipping tea, I had a look at children playing cricket and football on the playground stationed opposite to this chai-thela. Little brats kicking the ball for a few meters and some others chasing a ball down to the boundary somehow seemed extremely ecstatic , rejoicing every moment of the Sunday that comes after 6 days of toil in their respective schools. “Schools, which chhotu might not have ever been to” This thought was about to brush me , but before that I thought of something else. I thought of Sundays he had missed, I thought of friends he could not make and I thought of this ecstasy which he could not experience. And then came the lessons he could not learn too . Had he invested all that enthu he has into something more fruitful , it might have helped him and his family more in the time to come. But then when today carries a much bigger question mark over their survival, how can he afford to go to school or learn something that is not of any immediate use. At least, he is not begging .He is helping his family, if any, to survive in this forest of much stronger animals.

In India we have growth, not development. Growth is vertical and development ,on the other hand , is horizontal. And that’s why rich are getting richer and poor are getting poorer. In such climate, Children belonging to the lower echelons are bound to get suppressed, hence when they grow up, the next race is poor too. Its a vicious circle. The government provides them with midday meals, but what about them once the bell rings .Reality strikes them once they get out of the premises. And then we find these young but matured blokes doing an over time on Sundays to make up for the time they wasted in schools for one meal a day.

My cousin is working for an NGO that works for child labour , she keeps talking enthusiastically of how they are helping children break the shackles and pursue a better life. But the enthu gives way to disgust when she talks about her visits to slums, where half naked malnourished people demand for money and food even before listening to them. In these slums , the she-child goes begging or helps her mother out and the he-child finds himself something to do. Books supplied by schools or NGOs find uses which they are not meant for. Hands that should be holding a cricket bat look out for screw-drivers or empty glasses and dirty plates. But, still the child is angelic on his or her end. If breathing and learning are two options….I would choose breathing!
The next time I visited the thela,I heard chhotu blurting out hindi slangs [gaaliya] to someone,and instead of despising him, I tipped him. His hard-headed give-it-in attitude at this tender age made me exclaim “Hats off!”

7 comments:

poorvi...... said...

Hey its nice...
It seems good to read dat dere are people whoi still percieve to write about the socially underpriveleged sector of society...very well presented...Keep up d good work!!!

gaurang said...

hey...m proud of u buddy not coz u seem to b socially responsible but the fact that u hv focussed more on wats really a childhod earns for..n wat this mean world is leading millions of so-called-ambititious young kids...its not only the case with poor n deprived ,the educated class which is supposed to be the bearers of future r even abstainin their kids frm a typical gilli-danda typa chilhood..without which i think one cant imagine of full-florished ,all-round,social n nature concious lad..

...continue ur benign endeavour bro..

Kanchan said...

hey its really very nice of u to write abt such children who r not getting right education and had to compromise for their family....
very good thought...

Amey Mahant said...

A very tight n compact work covering an important,but rather underestimated area.The start was OK,but your Middle part is d best n truly deserve Congs for that.But again u loose d grip on d article as u move towards d end.The length of d piece could have been more n u could have covered a wide area of this small lokking topic.

But anywayz,on my part I really Appreciate your efforts.Your views r getting mature with every new article.Keep Going...........

ankur said...

Hey its a message to all who forget themselves & all after reaching to heights...

Farzi Bhushan said...

Bossss....It really touched my heart man...

Gr8 thought...Keep it up.

anu said...

amazing work......he has written abt the much talked... but little done issue..in such a way...that..even the most ignorent of all would be compelled to focus on it..i myself...being a supporter of the cause never have come across such a simple yet..brillent piece of work..just keep it UP.