‘This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda.’
A view from my train window –
I watch them from a distance, a group of kids play around the tree outside their mud and bricks hut. As our train begins to move, they wave their hands with glee! A sparkling set of eyes, spoke about their contentment. Without a worry about the future or any jealousy in their heart, they seemed to enjoy life to the fullest. Their hands and feet were covered in dirt, frail bodies suggested that a wholesome meal was for them a rare luxury. I wondered, if they ever dreamed of going to school.
The train kept moving and soon these thoughts drifted away. I reached my destination next morning. This small incident had happened many years back when I was still in school.
Fast forwarding to my college years, while traveling in a bus, my friend and I came across a small girl in tattered clothes. She was singing bollywood songs about which she might not have even known the meaning, all with a hope to earn a few coins from the passengers.
That sight disturbed me. It is still fresh on my mind, not because of any particular reason but time and again I have come across such children who are forced to beg and live a life less fulfilling. There have been several such incidents that have reminded me about the glaring difference that our country witnesses. It’s all around us.
I question myself sometimes, why can’t they experience good health, proper education and a safe life? Why can’t they even dare to make their dreams come true? Why do they grow up in obscurity. Why are they always taught to beg? I know the obvious answers to these naive questions. That day from the train and on the bus, all I wanted was to let those kids experience for once, the life that I lived. I wanted them to know the difference between begging and earning. I wanted them to enjoy their childhood which doesn’t ever come back again. I wanted them to dream and to aspire. I wanted to give them a chance to be educated. I believe, we can change a few lives if we begin to think of reach out sessions.
But, often parents of such children do not encourage them to study as this would result in lesser hands to earn money. Their prime most need is money and spending time for education (even if it is free) is considered a waste of time. I feel disheartened to learn of such helplessness. While my country is set towards a journey of digitization, there is a major sector that is still struggling for two meals a day. I agree, situations are changing and that nothing can happen over night. But, till it is sorted, there will be a lot of such families who will never get to experience a privileged life.
I would not like to overlook the fact that times have changed considerably but still there is a long way to go. Since British times, the rate of literacy has increased by about 6 times from 12% to 74% and yet India has the world’s largest population that cannot enjoy education. The statistics are even more dismaying when it comes to the rate of female literacy.
We may opine that being one of the countries with the highest rate of population is bound to face such crisis. That however, doesn’t decrease the amount of risks that the underprivileged are facing every single day. It doesn’t reduce their suffering, it does not count as a reason to accept the situation. It is an unfortunate, reality of the country that we live in. A truth that we just are aware of but a truth that they have to experience. It shall take decades to change the current scenario. Give me a magic wand and I will eradicate illiteracy this very minute. It would give me immense pleasure to watch them smile, dress up and attend a class in school, like all of us. It would make me extremely happy to watch them enjoy sports with their fellow buddies. It would give me solace to serve them healthy meals and to not watch them beg on the streets. That smile is what I would like to bring on their faces with my magic wand. My social group allows me to do such activities but the larger picture doesn’t change. We’re still far away from accomplishing that dream.
Knowledge can solve a lot of problems and make the country safer to live in. It can also help to reduce the amount of diseases that such children face because of unhygienic lifestyles. Knowledge can help to increase the happiness index and the list goes on.
I remember how as a toddler, my mom and dad had come to drop me to school for my first day. I had cried and didn’t want to attend the class. Today, when I look back, I cannot thank them enough for choosing the best for me and making me enjoy this privilege of finest education. I wonder how life would’ve been without it. Would I be able to even think of an independent life?
Let’s do our own bit to educate the underprivileged children in whichever small ways we can. Every action counts and if you are able to change even one life, it is a major major success! 🙂