25 July 2006

FOR ONE SQARE MEAL


To ward off the evil, her mother has put a black mark on her cheek, smudged with sweat in the sweltring heat of Chengleput.
She's wearing a nose ring, ear rings, cheap plastic bangles on her wrist, very cheap jazzy nylon dress utterly unsuited for south Indian summer.
She's wearing flowers in her hair,
ah ! she's wearing anklets too !!
How sweet !!
She is smart, looks very intelligent.
So full of life, she has ambitions, she has dreams,
She wants to live

What struck me first was the innocense on her face when I brought my camera to my eye. I was stunned.
Took pictures from a distance without distracting her.
My mind was racing. What does she know ?
Ask her about freedom of press, freedom of expression I have been screaming about in last couple of posts ??
All she wants is one square meal.
God help me please

She doesn't know about the war, destruction, torture, killing
This is her world
The road
She has no home no roof, they live on the roads, sleep on the pavements, harassed by corrupt cops, perhaps get raped too.
No protection, absolutely defenseless

She hasn't touched a keyboard in her life, no internet, no TV, no electricity, perhaps watches movies in cheap theatres. She has no car, no airconditioner, no inter continental travel, just watches planes flying with a childs amazement, perhaps she has hopes to sit in a plane and fly one day.

She has dreams to have good things in life. She does not pollute nor has she ever contributed to the damage of her environment, yet she is going to die for our sins, She would be the first casuality of the global warming. for no falut of hers. People who live on the streets would be affected first. The predictd ten degree rise in temprature in the next few decades is likely to kill most of the delicate living organisms.

she is not begging.
she is performing for her next meal.
She wants to live
if we let her.
Blunt Knife

54 comments:

e2d said...

very disturbing post Rauf.
One one hand its livelihood for the family and what she is doing is so much more dignified than begging but on the other hand there is a govt ban on
employing children below 14 and that girl barely looks 10. so what is the right thing to do?Also her life in the streets..hmm..i dont even want to go there right now.

Rauf said...

e2dees, where have you been ? was missing you so much, busy with studies ? projects ? thought of writing, but didn't want to disturb.

I'll have one post on child labour e2dees, it is sad, but bringing legislation alone doesn't help. Survival is such a struggle even for educated people, imagine the plight of illeterates. Sending this child to school means starvation for the family. So much money is wasted in election campaigns and on the arms race created by the developed countries.
No one is waking up e2dees.

jim said...

It hurts me too, rauf, very deeply, and there are so many of them, it hurts deeply. She is beautiful, they are all beautiful.

Even twisted in mind, even preyed upon in all the ways they are preyed upon, they remain beautiful and deserving of life and better. They are living potential and they are promise and they are hope and dreams and even when those are distorted by teachings and experiences, they are still something that should have been saved and cherished and protected and given to. Honestly, I love them all. It does hurt deeply.

rama said...

Hi Rauf, thanks very much for this piece. Thanks also for visiting my blog and your comment! Thanks for the feedback on the comments section, so I have made it unmoderated. (I got some annoying comment-spam!).

I had also carried a picture of an acrobat girl - take almost 20 years ago - in my blog:
http://cuckooscall.blogspot.com/2006/07/as-whole-as-broken-heart.html

kathy said...

very sad.

ufukhati said...

rauf,

You make me awake. Life is not a soft sofa.

Don Iannone said...

What an amazing series, Rauf.

Brings you to tears to see this.

Makes me think that each of us, in our own way, is a tightrope walker in life.

Blessings!

Don

samuru999 said...

that sweet beautiful face on her
... but I cannot imagine all the
heartache she has to indure.
Thanks for sharing this.
We all need to know about such
things... brought me to tears.
Take care.

FOUR DINNERS said...

Jeez. That hurts. The internet is an amazin' thing. You get to see n hear about injustice all over the world without the politicians watering it down to suit themselves. I'm not the brightest star in the firmament but I wonder whether one day soon we can convert all this knowledge we're gaining into something to actively make it better for that little girl. Wish we could. Wish we knew how. Maybe one day eh?. Cheers Rauf, be safe mate.

Rauf said...

This is a painful subject Jim. Read a book by Jarryd Diamond some time back, he says intelligence has nothing to do with race and it is not hereditary. This child is obviously is talented and has a sharp brain and she has no time for school. Child labour is very common in India. They find ways to be happy Jim.

Rauf said...

Yes I had a look Rama, thank you
I'll be writing a couple of post on this huge subject in a couple of weeks

Rauf said...

Indeed it is sad Kathy, nothing much is happening to tackle the isuue

Rauf said...

told you before DM we cannot afford to insulate ourselves. Many voices together can make a difference. Just want to make my friends aware and keep the issue alive.

Rauf said...

We have millions of such children Don. They are just victims of circumstances, they are born into low class families, it is not a sin, it is not their fault. just cruel play of fate

Rauf said...

Its all over Asia, Africa and Latin America Fourdinners, Perhaps one day people will wake up, stop selling weapons and start working to make poverty history.

Rauf said...

She may have achieved what we hope to achieve Margie. We seek happiness and go after it. Perhaps she has it with her, without the keyboard, password or a broad band.
From our high angle she may look very unhappy to us, who knows ?

Leila said...

the world does not allow innocence. the world will have it's wicked way with all of us one way or the other.

funny that though- the earth is good, the world is wicked. Is the world then what man has made of the earth? and is man uncurably evil?

Such a beautiful girl! One can only hope she finds happiness despite it all - it seems like such a cold, uncaring distant thing to say.

you said all the things we try to stop ourselves from thinking when we see these things Rauf. But we don't deserve to be spared!

FOUR DINNERS said...

I just came back to show the wife. She cried. Don't know if it means owt but thought I'd let yer know. Life is a real bitch sometimes.

Don Iannone said...

Let us pray fate turns toward such loving beings and grants them the love they so deeply deserve. Blessings.

Rauf said...

Your thoughts are always very delicate Laila, Naazuk, Maheen in Urdu (thin, fine delicate and fragile)

The earth has food in abundance Laila, for every one and it can support twice the current world population. Still there are deaths due to starvation in India and other parts of the world. Yes the world is wicked. Poverty did not exist, We created it.

This girl has no possessions, they have nothing to lose, and they are blessed with sound and peaceful sleep.

Rauf said...

You both are very kind FOUR DINNERS

I smile at people who talk about enlightenment or Nirvana, How can we remain insensitive when surroundings are so disturbed, watching utter poverty, war, destruction, innocents getting killed for no fault of theirs

Rauf said...

Thanks for your Prayers Don, please pray for the governments to wake up and set their priorities right

Bindu said...

Wonderful photos and nice words to go with them!

Rauf said...

They are not nice words Bindu and the pictures are not wonderful. If you read the post you may regret your comment

Gangadhar said...

yeah,Rauf..distubed me too..
I really worry for these kind of people who earn their livelihood by doing acts dangerous to their life..
A touch post,Rauf..with great pics...

Rauf said...

There is legislation banning child labour Gangadhar, but hardly implemented, difficult to implemet actually due to lack of any suitable alternative. Government can tackle this issue easily with right priorities.

intelligentwins said...

i somwat feel like e2d..on one hand if one is happy that the girl is encouraged to beg..but this is done pledging her precious life and happy childhood..if a country cant provide a good education and a happy childhood and eradicate hunger ..what kind of country is this ??????
jus cant think of wat can be done!

Lord Boo said...

moving post, Poms.. was touched, then sad, then angry; I loved the way you highlighted her situation. Little does she know that there are so many people who know about her plight, but pity that there's very little we could do. I'd read a proverb/quote somewhere (not sure which one was it) " If you want to change a man, one must start with his grandmother".
So true this is; all the evils in our society are so deeply rooted that it's time we start gouging them out *hugs*

Rauf said...

So sweet of you Neeru, Actually bringing up the risk to her little life did not occur to me, thank you so much. Risking her life for one square meal is too much to bear. All I could do was scrape ten rupees out of my pocket, I didn't have much money. This was in Chengleput.

This is such a common sight, more common in the north. Wondering what is the point in our country being an IT super power, a nuclear power when a basic amenity like clean water is not available to the poor. There are some weapon manufacturing countries who spend a large amount of money employing agents, like the CIA whose job is to bring tension to countries. The people who are showing the world that they are fighting terrorism actually fund terrorism in countries like india and pakistan.
they fund communal riots. Tensions are created by them like Labenon and Israel. Bombs are dropped innocents are killed and the weapon manufactureres are happy, economy of their country booms. They fund regime changes bring dictators manufactured by them. to destroy Indian economy they sell ten F16's to Pakistan. Now India is forced to spend on its defence. Forced to buy from their weapon maker brothers, they are all evil traders who have no respect for human life.

Now India and Pakistan don't have the wisdom to sit and discuss how some rich country is making a fool of us, let us forget our differences and take care of our starving millions. Why are we trying to scare each other spending on nuclear weapons when there are deaths due to starvation in both our countries. Let us keep our house in order first, let us not become victims of rich countries whose intention is to destroy our economy. This can be easily achieved Neeru, if we have wise politicians, and history tells us our politicians too are in the payroll of these countries, Bofors is an example.

Rauf said...

Ummmma reee sweet boo, checked up your time in Claudia's page, You know I am not good in calculations.

I feel so frustrated and angry. Wish I could change the minds of our politicians doing some magic. All they want is power, make promises, spend billions on election campaigns, get votes, and forget the promises made. They work for big business houses who funded their election campaign, they serve their own interests. Bringing clean drinking water to the poor is not in their priority. All they can do is pass legislation which are hardly implemented. There are schools but no teachers. Its worse in the North, some schools exist only on paper, ficticious teachers get paid but no school no children no teaching. Many schools have no buildings, but the building exists on paper, funds are sanctioned for the fictitious school. Media is interested only in sensational news. there is money in sensation. You'll hardly find issues like the acrobat child, who risks her life for one sqare meal in the media. I am just rying to draw my readers attention, don't know if my cry reaches those in power who can change things.
lots of love and hugs sweet boo.

Ruth said...

I'm convinced that with every person's awareness, more awareness multiplies exponentially. Don't lose heart, Rauf, you're doing just what you should be doing, waking us up, and from us, others. There is a powerful energy in what you do, what you say, what you show. I know it's moving out through all of us. Blessings to you and your camera and your skill with words and photographs.

Imemine said...

I'd like to believe she's happy. Maybe she can teach us what enlightenment is all about.

Rauf said...

Feel utterly frustrated Ruth, that I can do nothing about it. Politicians are not interested, media is not interested. I have been such a frog in the well all my life that I don't know any influencial person. Don't know any one in police department, don't know any lawyers, any one who deals with politicians. I have tried writing to newspapers about various issues but they were never published. Don't know what to do Ruth.

Rauf said...

Hope the child is happy Imemine, we have to go back before we were born to know about enlightenment.
I would have chosen not to come at all.

Frida said...

She is beautiful. Her story is heart wrenching. How do you change the world, can it be done? America's poor aren't as visible.

You would chose not come? Why? We all need teachers. You are a wonderful teacher. You have shown us the glories of your backyard. The smile of a crocidile. And the next generation we will lose if we don't get our heads and hearts out of the sand.

Frida said...

crocOdile

e2d said...

Looking forward to the posts Rauf although I know it aint goin to be pleasant.
Classes haven't started yet,was a bit busy with work but mostly was occupied with watching telugu movies online.Watched all of Mahesh Babu's movies that are available online.Never seen any of his movies before.Got hooked.He is so darn handsome Rauf-lol!

Ruth said...

If you had chosen not to come, so much pleasure and insight would be missing. You are a window, Rauf, don't worry that you don't know influential people. What you do has tremendous value, whether you see the result or not.

Rauf said...

Frida, It would be a greater tragedy if we bring her up the way we want, according to what we think is a good life. Don't know what she wants for herself, as usual like other children of her age she may hate school. The only thing I want to do is to make her and millions of other children stop working for a living and let them enjoy their childhood, those childhood memories make a lasting impact in our lives.

Life does not make much sense to me Frida, though personally I have no complaints, but can't remain insensitive to what is happening around, crime, crime crime, greed, everywhere, its the greed of some handful of evil people which makes the innocents lose their lives most violently. Such a majority of good people in the world seem so powerless to stop evil. Evil seems so powerful Frida.

Rauf said...

Ruth, to escape the wickedness of a few I would have missed love affection and kindness of many. Good that I was not given a choice. I have to read newspapers.
I travel but what I see makes me sad Ruth.

Cari said...

It is a wonderful gift to live another day Rauf.

Thank you for your story.

It is an eye opener for sure.

Rauf said...

This is everywhere Cari, Asia, Africa, Mexico, central and Latin America, Street children of Rio make a sad reading too where children are brutally handled by the police. Those children too have dreams, they want to live, when their survival is at stake they take to crime, become drug peddlers and grow up in an atmosphere of crime.

If we create awareness perhaps Governmets may act. If they have the will they can solve the problem, unfortunately self serving politicians everywhere lack such a will.
India, for instance, can easily tackle this problem without any outside help. But there is no political will, we have only legislations and no implementation.

Rauf said...

Yes e2dees, since the subject is so painful I have been delaying posting it. People are more civilised in India. They choose to work and make a dignified living. Not all the street children become criminals. We have most educated criminals in our country and you know that many elected memebrs of the parliament have criminal records. They are crippling the country. You can't expect much from them. What can you expect from heads of state who place the country's security in the hands of some astrologers ?

Telugu movies ? wow, You must be very strong e2dees. I have seen only a couple of Telugu movies
in my life. I don't have strength to watch Tamil and Telugu movies, got fever watching a Tamil film my friend made. Malayalam films used to be good, most of them, don't know what is the current scene. I have seen more Malayalam and Bengali films than Hindi Tamil and Telugu put together.

Take care e2dees, please drink 2 glasses of milk before you watch a Tamil or Telugu movie.
Hugs

ari4u said...

very touching and very sad. The face of innocence exploited... She deserves lots more and i pray that she gets what she wants. Thanks for sharing rauf.

chinna said...

i think these people are a like gypsies. they have been doing this for generations. maybe we should respect that and give them more opporunities so that they can earn more for their performances, be more creative, contemporary . . .

i maybe mistaken, but a lot of these kids attend special schools in the evening.

she's also probably better off being trained by her father than some coach like the 'mini' gymnasts we see in the olympics.

Anonymous said...

Here are some links that I believe will be interested

ari4u said...

anonymous, leave us alone. Quit spamming!

chinna said...

recently the hindu had proudly headlined that a 9-year-old narikorava girl had given a bharathanatyam performance.
there was even a 'sad' picture of her in full makeup and costume.

Anonymous said...

Here are some links that I believe will be interested

Anonymous said...

This site is one of the best I have ever seen, wish I had one like this.
»

Anonymous said...

I say briefly: Best! Useful information. Good job guys.
»

Anonymous said...

Keep up the good work Kirby vacuum cleaner g4 tech drive 1969 hockey vip Incorporation in nc Black leather seat covers with honda on it leeds web cams Breyer model fortuna Per ppc marketing strategy click promotion pay aerostar aircraft ventura county star webcam Hydrofoil model

Anonymous said...

What a great site Meridia 15 dzialanie meridia 15 buy a football team Cisco client download linux vpn Replica watch replca watches plotter decoupe vinyl http://www.ogiobackpackswebsite.info

Anonymous said...

Best regards from NY! Epson ink jet cartridges r200