Monday, October 18, 2010

Children of a lesser god

Every day we come across children of varying ages prodding the roadside dirt and garbage for some items that can be re-used by the homegrown industries to produce cheap plastic utensils, slippers or even bottles and paper bags. These poor children, robbed of their age of education live in slums, live a miserable life. Living very near to civilization, yet far from its reaping its fruits.

But there is one thing that makes them special – one seldom finds them begging. They do their laborious prodding the entire day and earn their small wages happily. And when I see others, specially young girls of their age, who could work at homes to dish wash or do the house cleaning, are found begging on the road crossings. No sooner you stop the car at the red signal; your car is swarmed with such beggars. And if you ask them why they don’t work anywhere, there would be a readymade answer, “There is no work.”

There is a very thin difference between earning and getting. One has to have a character and a resolve to earn rather than shamefully asking for alms no matter how many rebukes one has to listen to for that. While in Iran, I gave a tip to a boy serving us meal, but was surprised when he refused and said, “I am already paid for this job and that is what I earn – I don’t beg for it.” That boy showed me the strength of his character. How many of us have it?


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