'Musings'


This will be an extremely personal post, so don't go reading into it too much if you don't particularly like the sorts. Remember I warned you!
__________________________________________________________________________________________________________

There are times when you feel utterly hopeless. Like whatever you have done, or are doing, would ultimately amount to nothing. That in the whole seventy plus years you've lived or would perhaps live, and all the work that you've done or would do, they would simply not matter in the end. That you would not matter. Your life wouldn't matter, like so many everyday. Your name wouldn't be remembered. You wouldn't be remembered. That however much you've tried doing things against that, you've ended up achieving nothing.

How can anyone live knowing that?

Yesterday I went to the market to get some eggs, 'Dada, I'll buy the entire tray. We'll be having guests tonight!' I added, with a smile, 'Mum is thinking Biryani!' The shopkeeper smiled and separated an entire tray from the pack, as he devised ways to pack the eggs within safely. Just then, a puny little dark-coloured boy approached and asked meekly from behind me, 'Do you have broken eggs?'

I turned around and saw that he held another precariously broken egg in the other hand. I looked at his face and trust me if I say that his is the most innocent face I've seen in a really long while. With soiled, curly hair, a dirty half-shirt belonging to a discarded school uniform and shorts that were a little too short, this four foot tall kid maintained a distance from the shop and me. Compared to his otherwise dull demeanor, his gaze was strikingly sharp. And it was towards the one broken egg that the shopkeeper had kept separately.

'Do you have broken eggs?' he asked again.


'And what would I get in return?' said the shopkeeper, with an air of superiority.
'What do you want?' asked the boy, his gaze never shifting from the egg.
'No. I asked how much would YOU give me?' asked the shopkeeper.
After a really long pause, the boy finally said 'Two rupees' after having thought about it carefully.
'Two rupees would do. But you would have to show some respect and hand me the coin personally. Not throw it. Okay?' asked the shopkeeper.
'Okay' said the kid meekly, and handed him the 2 rupees' coin in exchange of a broken egg.
'Nice kid..' said the shopkeeper and winked at me slightly as the kid walked away.


I was however extremely distressed to see the kid. How can a ten year old be going from one shop to another asking for broken eggs? It's so wrong! For awhile I was seriously considering buying him a few solid eggs with my money but the shopkeeper, having understood my intentions, gestured to me to put the money back in, promising an explanation later.

When the boy left, the shopkeeper explained how my temporary charity won't help the boy anyway. That nobody's temporary act of charity can do any good to the boy, or to the thousands of impoverished boys all around the country, unless they decide to permanently adopt them or something along those lines. He looked at me, as I was perhaps welling up, and assured me that while he himself has been there as a kid, he's but alright in the end. Hardship has taught him, what it'll teach this boy as well. I could only nod at those keen words of wisdom!

I thanked him and left, while still thinking of the boy and his docile pleas to buy broken eggs.

...

I don't pity the poor. I pity the unfortunate. Because the poor may still have the means required in their pursuit of happiness. But it is really sad and unfortunate for the people who can't do a thing about their impoverished situation unless their lives are intervened by someone who's made it big outside. Yesterday my dad said something about a rule that 2% of a company's profits are supposed to be put to use for some social cause or for charitable obligations. I wonder how many companies actually follow it.


Most companies funnel the money into the hospital that they've built, thus making profits all over again because running a hospital is again, but a business. Albeit social, but when one questions as to which class of the society the hospital actually ends up helping.. they would find themselves hanging their head anti-serendipitously.

I also don't believe that you've necessarily got to be associated with an NGO for exercising your moral rights. Assigning even a lean share of your monthly income to social causes will perhaps also do. Wouldn't it?

When I was in Vellore, a certain someone introduced me to the Missionaries of Charity and an orphanage run by the nuns of the order. While initially I was not allowed inside owing to certain diocesan rules, they relented when I started visiting again and again. I met with hundreds of children barely living under one roof, awaiting adoption. I developed a fondness with most of the kids who could reciprocate, and they would wait for me each Sunday. When I would try to leave, they would get sad and teary-eyed and would hide my things. They would sometimes make such a ruckus that Mother superior would have to come and sternly have them reprimanded.

When I would leave for the last time, she thanked us and blessed us, but asked us not to meet the kids as they would not be able to handle the news of us not coming back. So we had to leave without seeing them. It was a good day, to meet the nuns and to give away most of what we earned after selling the leftovers to our college juniors. But we were not allowed to see the kids. We could hear them, but not see them. It was harsh, but we could acknowledge the significance. Barring 3 kids, all the others were too small to speak or even walk. Some of them were also not what others call socially and politically normal. And then there were some whose very existence made me believe in miracles.


Remember that lazy mosquito you caught that other day? Yes, the one whose appendages you pulled off in order to exact vengeance for the annoying bite you got earlier?! I've plucked off the legs and wings of mosquitos, surely more than once, just to see whether they show any signs of life once they're all plucked. But not so surprisingly, those buggers were as lifeless as it would've been between our clapping palms.

Now imagine a small toddler like that - without hands or legs. I've forgotten her name. Don't even remember if she had one. But I've always tried to block the horrific feeling taking over me at the sight of her. She was the most 'damaged' baby they had at the missionary but her smile however, had always helped. You cannot visit these places and not get the bittersweet feeling of 'how extraordinarily lucky am I, huh?!' And the fun part is that you don't need much to be helping them after all. Even if you can't buy them lunch everyday, they will always be in need of even the most basic things - diapers, moisturisers, creams, ointments, medicines or sometimes even a clean piece of cloth to wipe the snot in case they catch a cold - will you miss the money if you use it to buy these things for them? I doubt it.

I really didn't intend to preach, but I just ended up doing exactly that. So let me clarify why I suddenly felt like talking about all this.

I was upset ever since I saw the kid who wanted broken eggs because he could afford only that. It seemed to me that his search for a broken egg might just have some sort of a proverbial undertone to it. That we are all some sorts of a broken egg, unless we be of some use to people less fortunate than us. Maybe by helping, we would matter to someone. That someone will remember our name, and will thus remember us. That we would matter after all. Our lives would matter. That maybe by helping someone else, we can cease to be a broken egg, and make them feel whole again.

And so I wrote this long post, decorated it with photographs of a forgotten second year in college, when we celebrated 3 birthdays at a local orphanage and posted the story online. Screw it, it's my blog and I can do whatever I feel like doing. And I feel a lot lighter already.. And perhaps a little motivated too!

6 comments:

  1. It motivated me too. Thanks for bringing out such a fab post!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Oh, DC..... :(
    This reminded me of last year, when I was volunteering at the Hope Foundation.
    I hope this kid's luck changes. And I really wish we could do something....not just temporarily.
    *sigh*
    I have nothing left to say...

    ReplyDelete
  3. This is a lovely post and you are a good soul.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Thank you Juhi, I'm glad you liked it! :)
    Visit an orphanage or an old-age home nearby, and you'll never require another visit to get motivated again!

    ReplyDelete
  5. I should thank you Aniesha. This is the first time I took your advice of writing my heart out whenever I get upset. It was only you, who told me to do so and I feel good about it now.. :) Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Thank you Diptee di, as always you're a sweetheart! :) You know, it was Rupsa who took me to the missionary that day, years ago.. she changed me, slowly.. I'm so thankful to her for this..

    ReplyDelete