Monday, July 11, 2011

I am no longer sorry


I saw her from a distance and instantly she looked up on me, our eyes met for a brief moment and I knew, she will come to me. I was shabby, but with a thick wallet held in hand, for no other reason than lack of a pocket in my boxers. She must have mistook it as an invitation. She was dark skinned, with pleated hair and that is all I could make out from the distance.

I looked to the left, in to a shop, though not looking for anything, only to avoid her gaze and being consciously aware of the ever nearing presence. I knew, my knees grow weak when such human forms looks at me, my skin gets in repulsion, when they try touch me, I always want to shout, 'please go away from me. In my world, there is no place for you. You were not supposed to be existing and your existence the way now, is in some mystique way my contribution as well, I shouldn't have let this happen to you, being the more evolved form I am'.

She was there right at my side trying to touch my left hand, pleading with her eyes. Had the cheap nail polish on torn nails and quite some talc. The dress was shabby, the nose a little crooked, a teeth broken at the tip and making gestures with her mouth. I looked at her for a moment, my hands itching to open my wallet and give her some money and run home and sanitize my hand. It was one long stare, I felt this woman, aged 5, knew the moment she saw me that I will be the perfect prey to ask alms for. Rub my conscious about her shabbiness and get away with the money I give to stop addressing it. I stared long back into her eyes, let her touch my arm, and kept staring and finally she backed out. Removed her arms and walked away.

I looked at her and I knew, it was not my making. There was nothing in the world that I had done, that transformed this 5 year old girl, into this 'woman' begging for alms. The sense of false responsibility I always felt, I knew was over with, because I am the last person who made their lives the way it is. Blame it on themselves, or the animal instincts in their parents, for whom progeny was the order every year. Blame it on the government or in the larger meaning, the system, which failed to make sure such class differentiations never happened in the society. I realize, I am not the one who robbed her childhood and suddenly I am no longer sorry for her having lost her childhood.

4 comments:

  1. I have felt this way hecka lotta times. But why should you feel responsible about it?

    It was not your fault or my fault. Maybe we are part of the system which created these miseries. Thats that. You know many a times, I have asked such kids if they were willing to stop begging. I have asked them if they wanted to go to school, wear good clothes, play and eat good food.

    This very question is enough for them to run away! You then realize that they KNOW what they are doing. maybe they are scared of strangers.

    So see, this is all we can do. If any of the kid anytime wills to change his/her lifestyle, I am ready to give them what they need. Alas!!

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  2. Beggary is an industry. The problem is we can never tell between a person begging for alms and one who is into it as a profession.

    Both, has to be because of what the society is.

    feeling of remorse, well depends, after all none of us can wash our hands off , can we?

    ReplyDelete
  3. it sounds like a guilt trip. you dont have to justify yourself bob. none of us have to. probly we are at fault for their misfortunes and our fortunes.probly we are not.there is nothing you could do about it except treat ur own life and the attached privileges with respect.understand that we are lucky indeed and conserve our lives.once that happens you wont have to be scared of looking at them in the eye again.no more guilt.no more of trying to bribe them with alms or scaring them off with harsh looks.

    ReplyDelete
  4. u feeling guilty is like a tall tree in the amazon basin feeling guilty for being tall and feeling responsible the shrubs at the forest floor are not getting much light... well, u r responsibly, cos u decided to grow tall, towards sunlight, and u r guilty of getting there...so what?
    anyways, glad u r shaking it off and not looking at the forest floor too much

    ReplyDelete

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