“What is it about a little blood-soaked child that’s making us turn a blind eye?”
This is what I wrote to be spoken on the stage. All words that sound strong and beautiful when put together.
But, it was only when I looked at the actual numbers and met these children that I understood the truth of that statement…
Did you know that India has 18 million children on the street in any given year?
That child that you bought your bhel from yesterday, or the hawkers that you might see on the shore of your favorite beach…that’s just a small reminder of that humongous number.
When I was little, dad would tell me on a rare Sunday, if you dust the house today, I’ll give you 20 rupees. I would be so happy…20 rupees- all for me to spend on myself!
Whereas these children don’t know the days of the week- how can they? They never went to school…they sell trinkets all day, everyday- earn a pittance…which they dutifully carry home and hand over to their over worked, undernourished caretakers.
Many of you may think: that is all they know…most probably don’t even realize what they are missing.
But, is it so? Really?
I visited 4 remand homes last week. The children I met there weren’t criminals; they were just kids to whom life had dealt a very unwieldy hand. In their each word was a dream for a better life. The acceptance in their voices wasn’t one that didn’t know any better, it was one of long irreconcilable practice. And just around the edges of all that unrefinement was a barely perceptible tinge of anger…guilt-ridden and helpless in that it questioned our well-heeled audacity in infringing upon their “adda” and at the same time subtle and dignified in its well-concealed privacy.
I sat there, talking to them, not knowing my own place…
According to the article I was reading, in the year 2000, there were 6562 abductions of children; of which
1 for selling of body parts.
All I wonder is: in this process of collection of numbers, did any child get saved? Or are these the numbers of the too-late-to-save cases?