here’s a dilemma.
What do you do when you walk down a pavement with an iced eskimo in your hand, and see a woman sitting there, emaciated beyond belief, with her newborn child in her arms, her clothes in rags, her hair a congealed mess framing her dirt streaked face, asking you to help her out by giving her some money? or in other words, begging?
What do you do when you want to be a law abiding citizen but also thoroughly believe that you really need to help out underprivileged beings, and specially such women?
I saw her when i walked past her this afternoon, but the sight didn’t even really hit me until a moment later, when i had already gone 5 steps ahead. Not until i turned around to see my friend preetha asking for tenners, did i notice her baby lying on newspaper in front of her. She looked at us and smiled, pointed to her baby, which i guess is what made preetha give her 10 rupees. The sight of the poor little naked thing, when i did notice him, was disturbing.
But the disturbance lasted precisely 10 minutes. And there would not even have been any ripple in the conscience if the woman hadn’t called out – “ma!”
So who’s at fault here? The woman, for being at odds with her fate? The baby, for coming into a world that isn’t prepared to give it an easy life? Me, for obeying the law, for not listening to the short lived soul-stir? Preetha, for letting her heart rule, and not ‘discouraging the practice of begging’? the government, for not attempting to actually do something more about this situation, which is a terriblee mess of over-population, extreme poverty, lack of opportunities, unless you count the ones thato pen up for people who wish to exploit them? or do we blame it on dear God, who just doesn’t seem to work his magic and wipe out the troubles of the world?!
there have to be loopholes, and big glaring black holes, in this dilemma. it will take a little more dedication to actually see it, even though it might be socking us between the eyes.
what we need is more of a heart, which not only cries, but bleeds when it witnesses the suffering of others. that might drive us selfish souls into pro-action. and there do exist such hearts. like the one that my friend riddhi sharma posseses. she, at least, felt enough to do her bit for a handful of scruffy children in our college, belonging to the contracted labour employed in building construction. if nothing else, basic education, literacy, gives them a better shot at at moving up in life than their parents might have had.
what we need, is more souls like her. or better yet, an institution that attempts to bring such souls together. What we need is to DO something. And take that ‘all heart’ level, one step further.