A little share of joy and celebration for Shimla’s street children
“Do not be deceived, God is not mocked, for whatever a man sows this he will also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh shall from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit shall from the Spirit reap eternal life. Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary.” (Galatians 6:7)
SHIMLA: It’s a rare scene to watch someone inviting little kids, who are begging on streets, and buy whatever they demand like chocolates, ice-creams juices or anything. It’s rare, but everytme I come across such people, it does strengthen my belief in the existence of true human values and humanitarian perspectives. Sometimes, these perspectives have real faces. I encountered one who stirred my routine perspectives for a while.
Last week, I came across such a face and witnessed a delightful sight. A lady invited all the street children see saw on Shimla Ridge to a shop (HPMC) and bought them eatables like chocolates, juices, momos, ice creams etc. I clicked a few photographs before I interrupted the lady about her reasons to spend on these street children. I clicked all the photographs without her noticing it. She held an expensive Samsung smart phone in her hand and her personality and attitude was telling that she has a well to do lifestyle.
While I approached her, I noticed that the kids were making demands even after she had bought them the snacks and chocolates. Two of them had got momos, chocolates, and juice in their hands, but they came back to her asking for ice cream as well. Instead of being thankful for what she did for them, these kids were indifferent to the emotions and appeared to be making most of the offer by perusing her to buy even more. It was an annoying sight for me and I predicted that it might annoy the lady as well.
But, to my surprise, she was negotiating with them like parents do with kids when their kids are trying to grab all the candies. However, her negotiations weren’t working well and she was buying them what they were asking for. It was the party time for these poor kids and they did enjoy it.
Then, all of a sudden, a thought of the mental conditioning of these innocent minds justified their behavior. They grew up in insensitive environment and all they have learned is to survive somehow. “We reap what we sow” and these kids signify that.
One thing was clear that she wasn’t doing it for the first time. The kind of tolerance she displayed is impossible to create when someone is just pretending to be a compassionate and generous self.
After she had paid the bills, I wished her and tried to enquire about what was going on there. Her eyes saw the camera strap on my shoulder and followed it to the device. She said, “please, no video clips and personal details, I don’t do it for publicity”.
I took my hands off the camera and respected her wish, but I did have a little chat with her without names and personal of professional details. She told me that it was ‘Ashtami’ on that day and she was celebrating it by feeding these kids as it’s a traditional practice in India’s religious culture to invite people to home for meals on the day or organize a Bhandara (Lungar). She further added, “I do the same whenever there is a festive occasion. I don’t give them money, because, it mostly goes into the pockets of their parents or guardians for their bottle of Desi, Beedie’s, Gutkha, Khaini etc. Rather, I give them an option to make choices from eatables only. That ensures all of it goes to them.”
Not keeping her for long, I just expressed my respects for her compassionate act and wished good bye. It did not sound to me a god like act, but evoked a debate on what does it mean to be a true, benevolent, and compassionate human. I have more respect for people like her than I have for pieces of stones worshipped in huge temples. In no way it makes sense to donate to temples, bath idols with milk and butter, offer fruits, and eatables to gods. God does not have any form, and certainly, He isn’t humanoid. He isn’t a human who’ll get flattered or lured by our offerings. He isn’t material, but only through his creations, He manifests His will. Religious annotations to stones are mare a man made tradition, based on fear of God’s wrath if we don’t please him. Asharam, RSS, Bajrang Dal, Shiv Sena, and religious politics by parties, that’s what religion creates. Religion is the creation of our feeble minds, which were condition to fear the fury of God instead of knowing Him. Contained by convictions, no one talks about spirituality, the real virtue, because, spirituality will free human kind from frightful religious fears.
She reminded me of a couple of my friends and HW members. One of them would go to the orphanage on her birthday every year to share her celebrations with less lucky kids. It’s her way to show gratitude towards the almighty for what he has given her. Then, there is another friend of mine whom I saw handing his new umbrella to a crippled beggar as it started to rain. Third one is a student at HP University and give some of his time to teach little kids near campus. I doubt, whether God will get angry on him or her for not going to a temple and waste food and money on posters and statues.
It doesn’t matter who these people are and why they do it. I only see the real manifestations of God through these people. To conclude with, I would suggest you to save a little share of celebration for deprived and needy around you. Donate your old clothes, shoes, toys, books etc. Don’t throw them to be dumped in landfills. It’s a bliss, which only true contentment can achieve.