First, let me explain the #1 at the beginning of the title. It is indicative and (hopefully) will act as motivation for me to continue writing in the same uhm genre? I’ll be leaving this place for good in a few months and I don’t know how I feel about that yet. Yes, I am glad to go home for sure but then change and choice are man’s worst enemies. Also, India has been home for three years. A wise lady and favourite teacher of mine once told us that nativity is associated to where you mature as an individual and that changes a lot of things for me yes.
I was walking home today and I noticed some images I would like to share. I think as a student of literature, arts, humanities, I take the liberty to say that we become more aware to what happens around us. Or I might be making a sweeping generalisation for all I know as a result of the pseudo-elitism I associate with my discipline J
I live in SG Palya. Well not really (as most friends who come over would say) but a little passing the very end of this area. Most Bangloreans (yes that is what they call themselves) or those residing in Bangalore now, especially attending my university will be familiar with this locality as well. A good friend once said, “If they want to bomb the university, they should just bomb SG Palya.” Yes, it is a colony of uni-dwellers. I will not dare to make my family walk down this area. At least not without covered shoes. I think I’ve ‘transcended’ that stage 😉 However, a general idea is formed, yes?
While walking back from college today, I take my usual route (there are many which I am not familiar of). I see a man sitting on his haunches on (and not “near”) our garbage-dumping area.
Yes, we do this every morning. There is no longer any shame left in it.
The man, was a scavenger. There is also that occasional rascal who pees on a garbage dump, India in that way, does become an open latrine – don’t get me wrong, I like this country but there are some cultural shocks I am yet to mitigate with.
The scavenger, was on his haunches breaking open a trash bag. I identified some of the contents in that bag and was ashamed to have merely become a passive observer. In class, we speak so much of the role of the artist, the calling, the memory of the writer, the responsibility of the reader and so on and yet I choose to continue walking, after having observed, from a distance, him manually segregating waste, with his bare hands, no gloves, no boots.
Down my lane, or at least the lane I take now due to the ceaseless road construction on 4th Cross, I see an old man standing on a balcony looking down, around at what was happening.
I see a little girl sitting on the pavement slash her porch. The house, having the pavement as its threshold, perhaps used it as their porch as well. That is the very explanation given to street hawkers. I see her and she looks a little bundle of joy. It was super sunny and I love children, girls more and thus an amalgamation of all happy things. I smile at her, and she responds with a shy, half-smile.
I meet another little girl of about seven? She is walking towards me and on her way, elsewhere. I smile, and she doesn’t smile back. I guess her parents taught her not to smile with strangers J
I next see another old man. The house is built a little beyond the pavement so there is a foot-wide slipper/chappal-keeping area slash porch for him to stand and lean forward, resting his hands on the short wall. He looks disdain and lost.
I cannot help but think, as I start ascending the never-ending flight of stairs to my little home, those who suffer the most, are the little ones, or the old ones. I think I knew that a while back, but seeing this again and reliving it, being amidst it not doing anything about it just makes life a little miserable.
Education for who, I would like to ask myself.