9 January 2009



This is the last i saw of her. She smiled.
That smile was a final blow on my head
it came down like a sledge hammer and i sank.
That smile was a slap on the emerging economic super power.

Will the lady wearing red be her future ?
i hope not

This is a desert.
A thoughtless husband allows his wife to walk miles in the scorching sun of Rajasthan to fetch a pot of water in such an advanced stage of pregnancy.


i hated money all my life, but i have desires.
This is a contradiction. If you hate money, don't have any desires.
My whole life is a story of contradictions.
i could never accept that money is a necessary evil

i hated the system of money which created poverty. i am at my best with no money in my pocket. Completely relaxed. i get rid of what i earn very fast, i travel. never saved. Not a wise thing to do. i am allergic to wisdom any way.

it is my duty to keep an eye on my friends, notice changes in their behaviour, protect them from any tension. i am a pain, i interfere in their lives. i am nosey.
not a good thing to do, but i do.
There are times when i wish i had money to help those in need.
it hits me on my head and i go weak and depressed.
There have been a couple of such blows in the recent past


This is Kiran.
She wants to be a doctor.
How i wished all her dreams come true. just wished and wished.
'My parents have already started discussing my marriage'. She said
She is just a child. But this is India, a remote godforsaken village in Rajasthan with no drinking water.
She'll be a mother of three by the time she turns eighteen.
how i wished i could help her. i don't even remember where this village is.



She is the first of five children in her family. A girl child is considered a burden. She has to take care of the younger ones, go to school, study, do her home work and help her mother cook and clean up. i was sinking deeper and deeper. That is pretty normal for her.
i kept showing her pictures on the camera screen. She was giggling to glory.




Any one would love to help. But helping her is not easy as you think.
There are people out there who take advantage of your kindness.
Kindness is a big source of money. its a big racket.
Your money goes to the wrong people.
You can sponsor a child, but not directly. There are agencies involved, nearly all of them connected to Churches or other religious institutions. And you are convinced that a Church would never cheat you.


All you see is a picture of a child and you reach for your check book. Like you there are four or five other people interested.
A B C D, the agency takes money from all of them.
D is not aware that he is sponsoring the same child as A.

i have burnt my fingers. No details, here's the story in short.

my friend in the US sponsored a child in India. the Agency was run by some missionaries.
i wanted to see the sponsored child. They wouldn't give me the address.
'we are protecting you' said the Nun.
They arrange the meeetings.
i started digging, i don't give up, it was a wild goose chase. i got the child's address from his school teacher after a couple of attempts. Another ordeal followed. The child was not there. Got him finally, living in pathetic conditions above a cow shed.
Met his mother, she was a bigger problem. Big yerdake she was. i wanted to wriggle out of the situation. She said that the Agency makes the boy write three 'thank you' letters to three different sponsors.
That was shocking. All the dealing go through the Agency. They don't let you deal with the child directly.

You give 100 dollars to the agency, only 5 dollars reach the child.

Indeed there are children all over the world getting education with the help of sponsors. But most of your money goes to the wrong people.


You can take the trouble of reaching a child like Kiran in some remote village of India. You will not be allowed to handle the child's education directly.
'Give me the money' father would say, we'll take care of the child's education.
The child will not receive the full benefit of your help.
what else can you do ?
i don't know.
There is no guarantee that your money goes in the right direction. A little of it does.



off they go. To fetch drinking water in the desert.
India claims to be an emerging economic power, a software giant ??
what ever.
This is life, bitter and sweet.


Gwen Buchanan said...

Your friends could ask for no better than you....
Your duty is your virtue....

kenju said...

Rauf, I love seeing your photos. They are so vibrant - even when the subject matter is disturbing. Kiran is very pretty when she smiles. I hope she gets an education.

I have always wondered about those charities that claim to help children, and how much of the money actually gets to them. It's sad that there are not more overseers to check on them.

Sindhu :) said...

I loved your post Rauf Uncle... and I loved the way you wrote.

And I loved the pictures..

basically, I loved everything about this...

Am scared too.. to go through an agency.. because am not sure how actually it would be utilized. What if the people in the mid took it away? What if the drunkard father used it up? What if the money doesn't even reach anywhere near the child?


BTW... my new post is up :)

vishesh said...

well remove the disclaimer that there is nothing intellectual here...though i don't consider money evil..simply because,it is supposed to be a tool,a medium to help a person get value for his/her skill..though it has all changed...corruption is the biggest problem in the world...It is not possible to be without money,actually money can be anything,not necessarily the notes and coins...so if not them,then it might be something else,who knows maybe people?

I don't believe in giving donation/charity...if we want to do something for someone,do it directly...

And ya remove the disclaimer...this is really really thought provoking...

Ruth said...

Oh, you added a couple of pitturs since you first posted this, Abi. The woman behind the red veil holding the child behind a wall takes my breath. And you added the one with baby crying. I just read somewhere last night, after first reading your post: Smiles are best from one who weeps. I don't know, I suppose that might be true in some way, although I can't say it makes me feel better. Maybe in some deep place it feels right.

People often misquote the biblical line by saying money is the root of all evil. It should be the love of money is the root of all evil.

I have nothing to contribute here, dear rauf. There are no answers. Buckets of food or money can be brought out, still there are no answers. But still we have to keep looking. That is the history of civilization. Sadly, as you say, I don't know that we're closer to answers. Thankfully, also as you say, we are kinder and more loving.

I was trying to imagine what flower Kiran is, and I conclude that she is a flower, no comparison needed.

Sorry, I've written too much. And I said I had nothing to say.

Ruth said...

rauf, I hope your readers will go look at your portraits and the night heron at Passion Green. That bird and how you captured it made my day. Life is like that, sorrow and joy.

Sandy said...

Definitely a situation with no clear solutions, because those with hearts to help by giving money to these agencies don't realize how little goes to them possibly.

These pictures are gorgeous! What a beautiful young woman she is.

Nautankey said...

was expecting a fun filled n detailed travelogue and wat a hard hitting one i have come across. No one can give the answers rauf-ji.. not the politicians,the babus or the industrialists.

lets keep wishin n hoping for the best or bettet pray for this sad state and ask the god guy to take care :D

Sunrays said...

I dont need to add a comment.... the picture says it all.

Its true, we see the people around and most often hidden behind their smiles...is a story of sadness ...but then ....who are we to discount thier happiness not matter how fleeting.

Cheers and take care!

Sunrays said...

Could not resist to add another comment....but just looking at the pictures again.... i could not resist but put down a few more of my thoughts.... questions infact.

Are we to sympathise...if so is it for Kiran... maybe it does not conform with our notions of happiness....but are we to believe that her life is sad?

Its not about helping a child... for every one child we help there are a thousand others who still remain... and thats why its about bringing a change in the quality of life....

rauf said...

oh Thank you GWEN, though my friends over the years think that my presence gives them strength but i am a weak person myself. i have been blunt and it hurts, i do my best to make my friends see and think with clarity, take them out of illusions. i am talking about 40 or 55 years of friendship.
It has gone through some rough weather and it takes time for them to realise that my thoughts and actions were in their best interest. i haven't lost a friend so far. Only death has taken away a couple of very close and intimate friends. i am still in touch with my childhood friends. i am not possessive about anything. i own nothing. My friends have access to all i have. Now i am in a newly constructed house. i had removed the doors of room in my old house where i grew up and spent 48 years of my life. i am slowly learning to accept changes imposed on me by the younger generation in my family. technically it is progressive but emotionally it has been painful. All my memories went down with my old room and walls which had seen many a friendship grow, generated lot of love and affection. it brought friends together, some fell in love decided to get married, only one painful divorce. Rest are fine. i got into trouble with parents for getting my friends married, i have faced death threats. i forgot it all.

rauf said...

Present world is less violent than what it was 100 years or before JUDY. We saw the end of slavery, decline in racism, which is a result of evolution of human mind and has nothing to do with religion. We saw the rise in love kindness and compassion. The response to Tsunami was stunning. People are willing to come out and help. Specially from the citizens of the US and Canada. Lot of good work has come from Charitable institutions after the second world war. unfortunately we also saw the exploitation of poverty and disaster victims. When you watch heart wrenching visuals on the TV you would like to reach out and help and there are people out there to take advantage of it which includes religious institutions. People trust such institutions and don't suspect any misappropriation of funds collected.

Ruth said...

rauf, I just got this 11- minute video from Kiva about their loan program to entrepeneurs in the poor regions of the world. Just a $25 loan will go a long way. I hope you and your readers might look at it and learn about an effective way to help with just a small amount. Kiva is very careful at choosing their partners who distribute these loans, which go especially to impoverished women, such as in your touching photographs here.

rauf said...

Yes SINDHU BITIYA, We had a servant maid with three children, we used to pay their school fees. Later i found that father is drinking away the money. so we stopped. but the ultimate sufferers are the children. i tried to pay the fees directly to the school but father started hitting his wife. So the maid would come with a swollen face and demand more money. I have many such bitter experiences bitiya.

i collected some money for Tsunami, my cousin from Bangalore sent some money. off i went happily, looking for the victims to the affected area. it was cordoned off. Thugs stopped me. they had formed associations with the blessings of the local politicians. the thugs demanded the money saying i can't give it to the victims directly. i had to run for my life.

rauf said...

Hi VISHESH, these are plain facts, nothing intellectual here.
please google Church of England's apology for their involvement in slave trade. Its so disgusting that Churches were involved in slave trade. Worst crime against humanity. According to the Bible a slave was ( is ) not a human, has no rights. A slave is a property. the owner of the slave can hit and kill his slave. You are young and i don't want to tell you about girl slaves. find out yourself. God allowed brutality towards captured or purchased girl slaves (virgins) women and children were slaughtered.
So this was a major money making trade. Poverty began with the blessing of religion.
if any of my readers objects to my statements, i would give them the exact verses from the Bible, the word of God.
word of God ? what God ? when i know that he doesn't exist. these were written by self serving traders. Moses, Jesus, Muhammad had no courage to speak against the rich and they all condoned and supported slavery.
you can't go against the rich even today.
Vishesh now you know why i hate money.

rauf said...

VISHESH, read this BBC clip

mystic rose said...

I have no intelligence left to comment after reading this. I wish I could help my people.

rauf said...

i don't think before i write RUTH, made some

changes in the text and added a couple of pictures.

Its true. Love of money is evil. In other word greed. Greed is a different issue Ruth. The system of money itself is evil though convenient.

In the absence of police how would i protect my property and possessions ? The idea of reward in Heaven and fear of Hell sold by religion takes care of that. i am accusing religion for creating poverty and supporting slavery.

They sold dreams of after life to these unfortunate people.
' you serve your master you serve God ' and they believed it.

This post is about Kiran. she has nothing to do with the Church. She lives in a remote desert Village of

Later half of the last century saw the end of slavery and decline in racism but even today you will see slavery, bonded labour and the worst form of racism in India.

We Indians are very clever. Poverty is a part of our religion and belief. What we have here in India is a 'Designer Poverty' or 'poverty by design'. So there is no hope of removing poverty. Our holy scriptures have very clearly and cleverly designed the society.
You know about our caste system. The poor and the untouchables don't have any right to dream. i need not repeat what i have already written in my older posts Ruth. It is a heart wrenching reality.

rauf said...

These guys are peddling poverty as a virtue SANDY. Every priest every Church is selling hopes and dreams of a better tomorrow. They guarantee a sure ticket to heaven for the poor.
You will drive a Ferrari in the heaven Brother. Be patient, endure all your pain and suffering in this world.

When the poor accept their fate and accept poverty as a virtue, when it is marketed efficiently by the Church, there would be no solutions in sight. Now that love Kindness and compassion is on the rise, the Church takes the maximum advantage of your kindness. They are after your money. they see that the poor remain poor and fill their coffers with your kind contribution which is supposed to go to the needy.

here in Chennai Sandy, few years ago, a priest of a local Church was arrested by the police for selling the aid material received from the US, like tins of cooking oil, cheese, flour, milk powder.

rauf said...

please watch this on youtube SANDY

fleecing the flock


rauf said...

Hi NATTU NAUTANK, i am also tired of these depressing post. I'll make the next one pleasant. But most of what i have written from past two years have been quite depressing. On top of the side links you'll find pictures in Passion green, Portraits and Blunt knife. but i have not been updating them regularly, i don't like posting just pictures.

i was looking for a face with a Kathakali mask at the Music Academy the other day when the Uzbek Bolshoi presented Don Quixote (Donkey Hote')

A bit of clowning making her laugh was all i could do for Kiran. some times i wish, the wish erupts out of my heart that her dreams come true. thank you for your wish too Nattu.

rauf said...

Thank you SUNRAYS, Welcome to Daylight Again, not a pleasant place to visit.
You are on the dot. i always speak against imposing what we think is right on others in my older posts.
She may be happy in her own way. In this case she expressed her desire to be a doctor. This post is about my weakness and my inability to help her. And about the problems one faces in rendering any such help like sponsoring a child's education.

i spend a lot of time in the forests with the tribals. our education is so useless to them. i end up learning a thing or two from them. The art of survival is something we city dwellers do not know. We get so restless when the power goes off for an hour.
What if ? i dread thinking about it.

Indian culture is is not bharathnatyam, kathak, carnatic or hindustani music. Indian culture is adjustments. We Indians are masters in adjustments, we adjust to any situation without protest. So is this child. We claim to be an emerging economic super power. We have villages without electricity and drinking water. And these people know how to be happy. they know how to survive in a desert. i don't.

rauf said...

MYSTIC ROSE, It is intelligence and wisdom which has destroyed this world, not ignorance. With countless philosophies, messengers, saints sages, and prophets this world should have been a paradise.

alok said...

It’s a very profound & thought provoking post. Truly! life is bitter and sweet… I have seen both so closely because I came from a village of some 100 odd people, where roads and electricity was nothing but a dream. Though the village was not far away from the reach of one of the busiest town, yet it was like you stepped into a total different world. But now, I am proud to find both of them and a water tank just at the entrance of the village. I have seen people making big difference just by putting their little efforts, and I am glad to have such people around me. Now, I know a wish sometime can also be very powerful ...

The Preacherman said...

Suffer Little Children eh?

One day my friend. One day we will change the world.

Love and hugs mate.

rauf said...

Hi ALOK, Thank you for recommending the movie 'slumdog Millionaire' Now that it has won a few Golden Globes, i will not miss watching it. i am a sadak chaap myself Alok. i belong to the streets.

We've been having power cuts in Chennai. My family gets very restless. No AC, TV for a few hours. We have become slaves of comforts we can do without. i tell the children in my family to go learn something from the people who live without electricity and comforts. People survive, no matter what. Even if they have to walk miles to get a pot of drinking water. They have found ways to be happy.
We have our priorities grossly misplaced. We can live without electricity but not without water.
All the ancient civilisations flourished on the banks of some river or the other. Will to survive against all odds brought water to your village.

rauf said...

Lets hope so PREACHER. i'll vote for you.
My love to Caz and Jax

tinknit said...

I rarely leave comments...but this last post I couldn't pass!
I will not comment on how the world is or should be...as there are millions of others who do that needful! Rather, I say - thank you, Rauf...for being that one among us (you did notice "us"!!! :)) few who feel differently than the larger rest about how the world got to where it is now...and how enslaved we are in more ways than we can even imagine!!
And it is in you boldly living a "free" life and allowing those around you a window to that, that has won you my deepest respect!
Let's meet soon...

rauf said...

Welcome to Daylight Again TINKNIT, wish i had welcomed you to a pleasant post.

i don't know if i have done anything different here. Honestly i am not aware of it. One thing i know is i don't carry a load on my shoulders. i have presented some facts without any planning or thinking. i have been doing the same from past three years. Some of my friends hate it. They take the trouble of coming over to my place just to tell me that they don't read my blog. There are many issues that i want to write about and i keep forgetting about them.

Yes we'll meet soon Tinknit. But how ? Are you in Chennai ? If so please call 98407 68067. its my desire to meet all my blog friends. i have met a few. And it has been a very pleasant experience. Thank you for dropping by. i never claim that i am right. Please do not hesitate to correct me if you think i am wrong.

Alicia M B Ballard said...

Dearest Raufie

be back next week
in th meantime... looks like another splendid post!!!

Love and hugs dear friend
hope your birthday went down just fabulously well!

rauf said...

dearest ALICIA,
Good luck with the exhibition
Today is Pongal, our harvest festival
Your birthday falls on a happy and auspicious day
Happy birthday Alicia
love and Hugs

Marie said...

superbes portraits, superbes sourires, pour cette jolie série colorée.

rauf said...

Merci MARIE, bonne année à vous, vous souhaite à vous et à votre fils la joie dans le monde

magiceye said...

brilliant pictures rauf and poignant tales that anger and sadden...

Sudheesh Bhaskaran said...

Dear Rouf,

Wonderful post with amazing pictures and touching story.
Charity is a big business in India and missionaries have their own interests and help doesn't reach the needy. Small pocket money to children will only destroy them. Planned uplift organized by government and people who are experts and not corrupt are only way out.

rauf said...

Yes MAGIC EYE, i get pretty angry with myself.

rauf said...

Hi SUDHEESH, Welcome to Daylight Again.

There are people out there who who take advantage of people's misery. That includes our Netas the politicians.
The moment some disaster strikes its money for them.

i have always maintained that there is a growing rise in love kindness and compassion which has nothing to do with religion or beliefs. We are evolving in to loving and caring species. We all want to contribute and help the unfortunate. And there are people who take advantage of your kindness.

Z@ki-R said...

Rouf, I wish the little girl's dream comes true. Let all childs be happy. This post is heart-breaking.
Any plan of comming Calcutta? Do email if u plan so.

Aaarti said...

Sad world we live in
Money is all that matters....
sad indeed!!!! Sigh!!!

how you doing Rauffee? long time no noose... me been busy having fun.. spending oodles of time with friends and upto no good.. decided to not work in jan, and doing eggactly that!!! :)

rauf said...

Hi ZAKIR, it breaks my heart to say that india is a cursed country, i don't believe in curses either. its largely because of the mentality of our people. if one wants to come up there are ten people to pull him down. This girl Kiran even if she gets help, has to fight on many fronts. Being a girl its much more difficult as the family would prefer the male child to have proper education. i had to fight for such unfortunate girls many times in my life. there have been some failures. i have been accused of damaging the chances of early marriage of their daughters.
But i am very proud of a few who came up the hard way.

No plans right now Zakir. Perhaps in summer i might go to Sikkim and on the way i'll stop at kolkatta.
Thank you so much.

rauf said...

EEEEEEEEEEEE ORTEEE, Hi Sweetums, how you bees ? When you comings here, pleeej come have lunch
OWEE ORTEE i sawed Slumdog millionaire. stunning movie. You want ? its a flash back of my childhood, how we used to play in the streets grab the stumps and run when chased away. And ARR really deserves his golden globe. It blends with the movie, the music doesn't stick out in any frame. Its not a pleasant watch, i have to warn you. Watch the movie on empty stomach. Your lunch or dinner may come out.

How is deeah plaappy ? give him a hug for me.

shooting star said...

wonderful pics...but a shocking reality...how can i help...dont know....

kathi dunphy said...

Rather than avoiding charities altogether I would suggest that the giver very carefully check out the history and accountability of the aid group in question. We have supported world vision for over 20 years because it has had such a good reputation ever since the Korean war of disaster response and helping people towards self sufficiency. They come as invited guests and consult the village elders for direction and participation, whether it be drilling a well or setting up a school. They are independently audited by a credible canadian institution and the books made transparent to the donors. World Vision cooperates in helping sponsors visit their children abroad and enlists volunteers such as a few years ago in understaffed Romanian orphanages,in which a family member of mine took part. They have the highest percent of donations actually getting to the people of just about any charity.

rauf said...

Hi KATHI, Welcome to Daylight again.

True, there are sincere aid groups, like Oxfam and World vision. When they expand and grow big, overhead expenses soar, corruption enters.
UN has its own agencies. Expenses to render a help worth 500 dollars come up to 5000 dollars

Donations to Churches on the other hand are total rip off, please watch this clip Kathi, you don't know where your money goes.


Sewmouse said...

Another beautiful photographic essay, Rauf.

I hope you are well. Oh, I do wish I could help Kiran find her dream, her face shows such caring and kindness, I'm sure she would be a very good doctor.

That woman in red looks so big she could have twins!