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Life is unpredictable. At times it portrays the best of itself to you. But sometimes it punches you hard on your face with its brutal reality. It wouldn't be wrong to say that today morning I was punched with its harsh reality.
Reading the newspaper is a common "to do" every morning. I am from a school of thought which says, “Newspapers expose us to a lot of negativity”. So I usually ignore the depressing news and prefer to read something that’s less negative and more informative. But today something caught my eye. A picture of a toddler completely mauled and injured. I just read through the article only to realize that this 4 and a half year old kid named Selva was clawed and bitten by stray dogs.The incident occurred while he was “PICKING RAGS” in a locality of this hi-tech city. This news sent a shiver down my spine.
I was left with tears in my eyes and a thought in head. But life moves on. While I was on my way to work this conversation broke. There were comments on how the city is full of stray dogs. Some mentioned the gory incident where these dogs had eaten up a tiny little kid. Some criticized the government for being so unreasonable. There were multiple ideas on how this can be curbed. There were solutions to making this city cleaner, greener and healthier. But there was one thing that got completely missed out. The kid was just four and a half and he was a “Rag Picker”.
A Rag picker? A kid of his age must play and sing and dance and not pick rags for his living. This thought has not left my mind even for a second. I am sure many fortunate children of his age may not even carry their school bags. And they must not. These tiny little shoulders are not meant to carry off the burden of the family, today. They are meant to grow stronger to face the realities of life, tomorrow. They are the future. While I do understand that circumstances play a major role here, I fail to understand the very basis of life.
I am not sure what will happen to him now. After he is discharged from the hospital, he will probably be pushed back to slums. He will again hold his bag and go picking the rags that we "white collared sophisticated society citizens" have left behind. While children of his age will sing “bits of paper lying on the floor”, Selva will actually go and "pick them up".
But then we are the “Aam Aadmi”. We have a life of our own. We have enough and more on our plates to cater to. So we will feel sorry for Selva, some of us will sympathize with him and blame the government, some of us will blame the parents or the relatives, and some of us (the most intelligent of the lot) will only blame the dogs for what they have done. A few of you will also mock at me for writing this. Because as the Aam Junta of India this is what we always do. In fact, this is what we are meant to do.
As far as I am concerned, I feel shallow of myself and my kind.