Papa and I

on Monday, 16 July 2007

I put my head down and tried to sleep on papa’s shoulder. I closed my eyes to sleep, but the bad thing in my stomach hurt me again. I wanted to cry out, but didn’t want to upset papa. He has been very upset for the past seven days because of me. The bad things worried him too. I opened my eyes and looked out of the window of the train. The trees seemed to run past the train at great speed. I thought this was very funny, and laughed out loud. But I had to stop because the bad things were hurting me again. Papa looked at me and asked me what happened.

“Look at the trees papa. They are running after each other in a straight line. Cricket masterji at school would be impressed with their speed!” , I said and smiled up at him.

“The trees are not moving beta, but the train is, so it looks like the trees are running”, Papa replied, looking down at me and his eyes filled with tears. I suddenly felt very stupid.

“sorry papa. I am stupid. I should listen more to masterji at school. I will do that from tomorrow. Please don’t cry..”

“No beta. You are a darling and not stupid at all. I promise I wont cry anymore. Okay? ", papa said and scooped me into his arms.

That’s where I felt safest, in papa’s arms. In his arms the bad things didn’t hurt me that much. Papa was strong, he would scare them away! I smiled to myself as a picture of the them running away and papa giving chase with his stick came into my head.

Papa and I had gone to the big-city-with-all-the-water a week ago. Nattu and Bhola also wanted to come along, but papa took only me with him. He told them that the bad things in my stomach needed to be chased away by doctor saab , who lived in the city. I was very excited to go to the city. But I wanted ma also to come along. But Nattu, Bhola, Krishna and Kali needed some who would take care of them. So ma had to stay back

We met doctor saab, but he said he could not chase the bad things away and papa had been very upset since then. I saw him crying last night, in chacha’s house . I thought I had done something very bad. Papa didn’t even listen to my new story about the King and his horses.

“papa.. when will we reach home?” , I asked

“in a while beta. We will arrive at our station in 5 minutes then we can walk back home from there.”

Good. Maybe Kali will hear my story. She loves my stories. With this comforting thought I closed my eyes. I had begun to feel drowsy….


….. I was feeling very cold and this woke me up. I opened my eyes to see where we were. I looked around and realized that we were near the bridge over the river in our village. I was very excited to be home. But we weren’t moving. Papa was holding me and crying again.this put bad thoughts in my head.

“You said you wont cry… you promised”; I said.

Papa didn’t reply but he broke down further. He was weeping now. He put me on the edge of the bridge and looked at me. He had a very sad look in his eyes. Papa had the same look when Gowri, our cow, died. I was very scared now. Ma had asked me not to go too close to the edge of the bride.

papa….”

“I am sorry. I cant see you in pain..It kills me …but I can’t help you either…we are too poor to live….”


I just kept yelling “papa bachao!, papa bachao!” for as long as I could….




This is the story of Sarita , a little girl from Janpur. Fortunately, she was saved by the local fishermen and restored to her family. This news was pickedup by NDTV and a lot of people have come forward offering monetary and medical help. But what of all those other little girls whose news is not picked up by anybody, they have no other choice but to drown, if not in lakes then in their own misery. I believe that every problem has a solution. what is the solution to this?

28.6%(about 305 million people) of all Indians are below the national poverty line. Poverty is helplessnes. No amount of charity can ever help them. Because money alone cannot reduce their helplessness.But services can.Every hospital should have mandatory pro bono time for their doctors and all schools should take in students pro bono. Every engineer, doctor, lawyer and banker has the responsibility of providing their services pro bono. This is the responsibility of a nation. Not just a few NGOs.

This is not about the right to education or information. This is about the Right to Live. And every living thing has a claim to it.This is the story of 300 million people.This is not the story of Sarita alone.



19 Comments:

sheetal said...

Its hard to comment on such things as these...I'm not sure who to blame here...either poverty...or the people who know that they are poor and yet cant stop giving birth. And for the kid...well...

I think instead of having Hospitals with Probono services...they should rather have easy payable services.

And I have a question to ask you Kin - Why ONLY "engineer, doctor, lawyer and banker"...why not ordinary people like Sarita's fathers?

kadambari said...

so many innocent lives are lost to poverty..sickness..guilt!!unless ppl are more aware or shouldering not jus their personal responsibilities..but also others' who might need it more...itz difficult to put an end to all this...

kinni said...

@ sheetal..when i said pro bono..i was refering to people's responsibility towards society..the necessity to give something back..to promote a feeling of responsibility towards the society.. and when i mentioned doctor etc..i was just mentioning a few things in general..didnt mean just them.. and in my opinion..sarita's father's greatest responsibility towards the society is to promote the welfare and education of his own children..he is one of the drops that makes up the ocean that is the society..he needs to realise the importance of social policies like birth control and other issues..that is his greatest responsibility..

kinni said...

@ kaddu...i believe that change is a very slow process..there are no sudden changes...what we need as a nation is a change of attitude..and that is probably the greatest change of all!so..it will take a few generations,surely ..but yes..thigs will look up and i hope there will be a day when health care and education can be offered for free..

keerthi kiran said...

i hope there will be a day when there are no fathers in the shoes of sarita's father rather than education and medicine for free!

kinni said...

@keki..thats the whole point isnt it?? only when there is free education and medicine..there will be no one in sarita's father's shoes..

keerthi kiran said...

need not be...there are other ways ...i seem to think they will be more effective than anything given for free.

kinni said...

@keki..elucidate..

Lakshmi said...

Why do you think that if there is free education and pro bono services that all will be well?

Why do you think that people are responsible to society?

No one can help a person more than he can help himself.

Lakshmi said...

Engineers, doctors, teachers and anyone doing anything productive in this world have already done more for society than you realize merely by doing their jobs.

If not there would not be penicillin, there would not be cures and no progress.

These innovators and benevolent people have been penalized by the govt through extortion (more and more taxes) and the rest of the people (like you) who expect them to give freely without question and pay the penalty for being productive! Why?

I am not against people donating through their benevolence because they have more than they need and would like to bring others to a little higher level.

Rather than remain in the gutter, every man must have the desire to break free from this quagmire and at least attempt to rise above it. Someone who remains there and expects society or the rich to do something, does not deserve it!

keerthi kiran said...

@lakshmi: "Why do you think that people are responsible to society?"

"These innovators and benevolent people have been penalized by the govt through extortion (more and more taxes)"

by these statements like these you remind me of rand. who not only undermines the basic fact that man is a social animal and whatever he says or he does he HAS to live in a society surrounded by people for his survival.talking of rand there are so many other things that i would want to say.but that i would leave for some other occasion

@ why are people responsible for society,because in simple terms they are part of it. every engineer,doctor or whatever he is ,wherever he is making he is making his money through the society.so in every its the society that is giving him the opportunity to make money. otherwise what good is any doctor, if the society does not need. it should be understood that it is a symbiotic relationship.its not only the need of the seeker but also the need of the giver. so when society is giving the person many things that he has got.is it not his responsibility to be a part of its problems. if you see he need not be,i would call that person an opportunist,and its has got a negative connotation for me ,unlike rand.

@your second point...people are penalized? i will explain it in parts. people need to pay tax, obviously so ,because when people want roads ,water, light, protection ,transportation etc. where does the government get the money for these? when we are using all these don't we need to pay tax for these? there are no free lunches in rand's own language.

coming to the highly talented people being penalized(taxed) more...this i would say may be a bit of misconception. modern day government have always been on the side of the rich, through tax exemptions, subsidies , infrastructural development near the place where these factories come up,lands given at give away prices...come on is that called penalty? i would surely like to be penalized then.an other fact which media often does not highlight is that the biggest defaulter of loans is not the farmer who has been subject to humiliation ,it is those rich ____ who failed in their ventures, and the government covers up for these . funny isnt it. when government makes claims like -hamara haath aam aadmi ke saath. baaaalls!

coming to "Rather than remain in the gutter, every man must have the desire to break free from this quagmire and at least attempt to rise above it. Someone who remains there and expects society or the rich to do something, does not deserve it!" its about providing everyone equal opportunity. society prosper and flourish not because of individual brilliance or selfish motives but because as whole they move up. because its an open place where people try to include everyone and provide equal opportunity , no one is asking for favours. all that people are asking for is an opportunity . not a favor. its a different case for the people who want to piggy back on the rich, but no one wants to live in a gutter, but are we providing everyone a chance to get out of it. we need to do it. otherwise society will just collapse. life is bit more complex than black and white that rand seem to paint it in.

in rand's language probably people should help marginalized sections because it gives them happiness. that the only feeling that rand recognizes right?! sorry,she even knows an other one also that of hatred,whole of her philosophy is built on it. oh my god! i should apologise,did i call her a philosopher? i will leave that for some other time. that's what i think. what say?

kinni said...

@lakshmi(pinn). ill tell u one thing ,...i do not believe in charity..if anyone wants to help a poor person out..he shud not give him money..he shud show him a way to come out of his misery...and as to why doctors etc. have aresponsibility to society..its simply because it is because of society that they exist...as keki elaborates in much detail! also..human learning and its benefit shud be accesible to all.. if the maker of the wheel kept it to himself...then all development wud have been much slower till some one else made it again..a doctor stands on the shoulders of many more before him..and anythng that can save a person's life shud be accesible to them..if some one has to die because they cud not afford a particular procedure the ni consider that to be a shame to the medical fraternity..the whole point of medicine is to help ppl..and not just rich ppl.. all human learning shud be for the "greater good".

@keki...meet lakshmi pinni..the aunt i always talk abt! and i donno if she is a believer of rand philosophy..but she definitely is a fan..so ..

Lakshmi said...

1. Any exchange between people is through fair exchange (in the true/right sense) i.e barter. It is not need based. Society will not buy a worthless thing just because some person is starving to death. If a person pursues a non paying profession that is his misfortune. Society is not giving anyone anything. Any wealth a person acquires through fair exchange is his by right -- reward for his hard work! If he wishes to give back anything to society through his benevolence he can but it is not required.

2. There are other means to support roads, bridges and other public services -- such as pay per use.

3. I donot know how taxes are imposed in India. But the richest people pay the most taxes in the US. I think what you are saying about govt cover-ups etc.. the rich you infer to here are __NOT__ the rich I am thinking about. I am thinking of those inovators who have achieved riches through fair and just means by selling the product of their creation.

4. It is not about lack of opportunity but rather if a person can recognize one when it appears, whether he has the desire to grasp it and rise above his current level. A person devoid of this desire will fail no matter how many opportunities are provided to him. Ultimately each person is responsible for his destiny. Nothing anyone can say or do will change it!

Lakshmi said...

@kinni
I have no problem if a doctor wants to charge less or not at all if that makes him happy. Ultimately there is a limit to how long he can carry on this way. Since he will need money to survive :-)

It would be not much use if a person kept his creation to himself.

I don't think anyone of us would pass a dying man on the road without stopping to help.

keerthi kiran said...

@1 there is a differce between barter and exploitation.and anyways how did barter system come into existence, its purely need based and individual excellence has to be complimented by societal prosperity for him to enjoy fruits of his own hardwork. imagine bill gates in a nation with civil unrest!so if benevolance satisfies the ego of the rich to keep himself happy, probably that can be conceded. because at the end of the day its all about ego,right?

@2 pay per use ...thats exactly what is happening, because he is getting an identity , protection etc. he is paying tax. he need not pay it ,if he decides to be the king of mercury!

@3-how america works?
1.The Republican Party of United States is often criticized for giving tax breaks to Big Oil.

links-http://www.publicintegrity.org/oil/report.aspx?aid=345

http://www.nader.org/releases/63099.html

http://www.thirdworldtraveler.com/Nader/CutCorpWelfare_Nader.html

many more links !

ya i was talking of the rich who made it big and struggling hard through these means to stay there. which american meritorious are we talking of who has achieved riches through fair and just means? are we talking of bill gates or iCON...who?

@4. no doubt its about that , does everyone get the opportunity ? everyone needs to for the society shall prosper because everyone is growing and for the welfare of the meritorious there has to be a society, so that he can perform his act, because as you said what good is any invention if he kept it to himself? we can do a lot...through ages people have proven beyond doubt that a little bit of push can go a long way in helping many earn a decent living!

@laxmi madam- sorry i thought my first set of comments were a bit high on emotion. its just the issue at hand! otherwise i am soft spoken guy :)!

Sathyanarain said...

SIGH!

Lakshmi said...

Taxation is not pay per use

Corruption exists every where.

In an ideal world, all that I have said is possible.

Opportunities exists everywhere in different forms. People need to be aware of them and seize them.

If you have a will there is always a way :-)

Keerthi Kiran said...

We need to accept that we are not living in an ideal world. there are constraints, we need to play with them. where there is will there is a way, having a way does not guarantee anything, you need so many other amenities to reach the destination. that is all i am talking about amenities, if someone has the will, let him reach the destination. without these all that way will lead to is a dead end.

Amruth said...

@kinni: Nice Blog!

@Lakshmi:
Your/Rand's philosophy is great. But the way I see it, it's a bit short-sighted.

Ofcourse every individual has the right to earn his life & luxury with his merit. But an intelligent choice would be to get the maximum you can out of your life.

If one thinks, he has enough ability to individually outperform many men & therefore control greater resources - Fine!

But he must also be willing to accept many men's choice to collectively pull him down if they see him as a threat to their collective existence.

But most people, including Rand do not seem to be fine with the idea of group-choice, group-rights & group-abilities. But then, these traits have survived so long a period of evolution that it hardly makes sense to still fight against it.

@kinni & keki:
Should I say it's a bit too far-sighted for most people to care about?

I've been around with quite a few groups & organizations which are involved in such upliftment efforts. The real problem which still goes unaddressed is: People can't sustain their efforts if it does not have a significant personal benefit. The benefit can be anything - recognition, money, reduction of guilt.....

But then, there needs to be some continuous source of benefit associated. But most people seem to think of Altruism & Selfishness as two opposite directions. So they don't realize the need to fuel the selfish needs behind altruistic initiatives.

Admission: True. The real reason behind every human action is - Selfishness. But the depth at which we analyze a situation decides the level of altruism involved in our actions.

Altruism or Selfishness? Most people don't like middle-grounds - but i think that's where life lies.