India.. one of the fastest growing economies of the world.
We boast of being the land of ultra-mod skyscrapers, world’s top billionaires, multi-storeyed residences, luxurious amenities, so on and so forth.
What we have been ignoring are- the little things that are just within our vicinity. We think it is something usual and there is nothing to break our heads about. We spend more time following our celebrity idols- where they go, what they do etc. An actors’ progeny is bound to be a talented actor and so with a politician.
One evening, while I was walking back home from college, I came across a man pushing his cycle which was loaded with goods. He was walking in the opposite direction- towards me. From the front view- his cycle had a 4-5 rug sacks tied on to either sides of the handles filled with goods. 2 plastic pots were tied onto either sides of the carrier at the rear. My eyes fell on something that looked like a random bundle of clothes placed at the rear end of the cycle. As we walked closer, I noticed something unusual. What I thought was a bundle of rags was infact a baby…!! Roughly 4-5 months old, sleeping peacefully on a tin trunk box covered with just a piece of rugged bedspread. I walked closer and made sure what my eyes just saw and what my mind just thought it was, was right. The Little baby boy was having a peaceful nap without ever knowing the realty of this cruel world. He had no idea about the kind of hardship his fragile parents were going through just to bring him up.
This cycle was his home. This cycle was his office. This cycle was his mode of transport. Oh.. Did I say “His”? He does not live alone in this makeshift home. He lives with his wife and 3 kids. He also carries his makeshift “Drama Company” on these wheels. He stops where he thinks it is right; performs a few acts and earns a few pennies enough to feed his family with a 1 time meal per day. I was confused how to react on hearing this story. I did not understand whether I had to feel bad because he was poor or whether to feel happy that he was content with his life (or atleast for what he seemed like). But, all I can do is, speak about it in a little more elaborate context but can never think of getting into that man’s shoes and exploring his world.
When asked for, he gladly posed for a picture with a warm smile. The only gesture I could show was to offer him the fifty rupee note that I had in my wallet which he received with a bigger smile. This “Small and Happy home” kept my thoughts disturbed atleast for a week. Maybe I can try to get him a job in some theatre, movie or make a documentary which could earn him enough money to support his family’s needs- lot of ideas came popping in my mind. But I felt like a helpless little creature in this evil wide world where the scope for growth is meant only for the rich. The rich is getting richer and there is no scope for improvement for the lesser privileged. The others who fall in between these two categories are just mute spectators.