Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Dancers In The Dark

I gazed silently at those nimble pair of legs which moved in haste. A few steps forward, then a quick flip. A moment later, bending on the gravelly surface and writhing back and forth through a hoopla, without so much as to touch it. Pushing it aside the next moment, sprinting forward and taking a gravity defying somersault again. A young girl of the same age, fidgeted nearby, playing a small dhol tied to her neck and singing to the tunes of popular bollywood numbers. Another kid belonging to the same clan looked on, waiting for his turn next. I felt as if every single act of theirs, was smeared in a monotonous semblance. But then, it was their conditioning which blurred such an axiomatic display to a large extent. Helplessly I watched, however trying not to, at times. A sight as such made me dwell earnestly on the cruelties meted out to such pitiable young souls, clinging to a parallel world soaked in abject poverty and hopelessness.

It was a difficult sight to construe. Disturbing. Deplorable. In the subcontinent, this is considered quite a 'normal' occurrence to all and sundry. A performance as such by those hapless youngsters, most of them below five, held the multitude in awe. Heartless souls around had completely obscured themselves from this impregnable truth with such repose as it pushed me towards the brink of stark disappointment. My quaint thoughts jittered on the rickety borders of hesitation but I looked on, shamelessly. Something changed inside me at that very instant. What I saw, nudged my soul and struck a deep chord inside me. I glanced around making a frantic search for their parents. But none were in sight. Those kids were all alone. On their own. None to hold their hand and guide them the along the right path. None to care. None to shower love. These little angels had nowhere to go. They knew not what stuff dreams were conjured of and savoring them unlike kids of similar age who were fortunate enough. They knew not what it meant to go to school, to learn, to play with toys and develop into educated beings. Made to gyrate to vicious rhythms of impoverishment along a tumultuous path of despair and desolation. They were born humans but now, with each passing day, they were being stripped of this so called 'gift'. Let loose in a cruel world, devoid of love, guidance and protection, showered so lavishly on other children of their age. Let loose to align themselves on their own and make sense out of the chaos and the bedlam prevalent in our cruel society. Such an age to eke out a living, for their family, for themselves? A family strung together by nothing but hopelessness and despair? The truth held me in a trance. It was weird. Every second, I tried to make more sense out of it. I faltered many a time. But I tried.

The crowd was growing impatient with each passing second. I knew why. The more they looked at the proceedings, the more they reveled in a mellowed act of derision. But to me such a mockery, rather being directed towards those poor souls, seemed more to be directed towards the system. The system which has sprouted such a sordid state of affairs for the little ones. A system where the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. Whatever happened to those much touted welfare programmes for the needy, those so called 'honest' efforts to educate the poor children and tall claims to restructure their lives? Mere words scribbled in government files left to rot in dusty shelves? Hollow promises made by the inept bureaucracy? How true. Humanity, chucked into oblivion, lost forever...never to be found.

A soft tug at my hands, made me break away from the trance. Her fatigued eyes, amidst her soiled face and disheveled hair, yearned to say something. But all she could do was unfold her palm and implore for money. The next instant, as soon as I had handed her a five rupee note, she flitted to the person next to me only to be dissed aside. I turned around to see the other kids penetrating the crowd and approaching people for money. Some chipped in a few pennies, some stoically ignored their innocent overture.

But soon, time ran out. I saw the light flash green ahead. People around made a dash forward, in a state of tizzy as they have always been accustomed to, amidst horns blaring and vehicular pandemonium. Those three fragile minutes seemed like eternity. But something stayed with me. That silent impeccable look in the girl's eyes which silhouetted her dreary fragmented existence. A pinch of hope in a cauldron of overflowing despair that made her endure her pains and trudge ahead in life. In that fleeting instance, I realized I needed to break the mould and do something for such poor children. A honest attempt to alleviate their misery and try to make them realize that even they are entitled to what we 'humans' take for granted day in and day out. Penning my thoughts here is a minuscule step taken to highlight such an overlooked scenario dominating all around us. God might smile at such a novel endeavor, supposedly. But I, for one, care less about what He thinks. A mission lies ahead of me. Fulfilling a drive to bring a smile on the faces of these children. After all, it's my pursuit to restore that bit of happiness in their lives, in all the ways I possibly can.

Come little one, come along

To the land where you belong

Fear not, smile my friend

With us, you shall blend


d SINNER!!! said...

a very realistic approach!d last para spks of the inspiration, that one spark that changes one's attitude towrds life n stuff!!!!

very well put up!!!

Anupama Kondayya said...

I am spellbound and awestruck at the writing for one...kudos! Secondly, what a topic to choose...I saw this on a Bangalore street only 2 days ago and was lost in the thought - is this good because it is a dying art or is this bad because ultimately it is being forced on the children? Amazing (what an understatement) post!!

Saurabh said...

Dil ko chhoo gaya yeh toh!.. n good that you want to do something for those kids. God will sure smile, just hope that time also does.......

Gourav said...

wow. great post!!!

Aditi aka Jiggs said...

these kids dont get time to grow up ,thr just pushed into this world.
they dont have a childhood ,
pennin down this post is a beginin towards making that change
kudos to you

ShAkE Inc. said...

Thank you all !!!

Sur said...

Amazing post,very well written, stirs something in you!

ShAkE Inc. said...

Thanks Sur...I take a bow! :)