By Theresa Micheal : The welcome board, hoarded all across Chandigarh, boasts of, “The City Beautiful.” Sectors 48 till Kali Bari Temple boasts of prominent residential societies, with names like Silver Tone, Kendriya Vihar, Pushpac, Excel, Sarvahitkari, Advocates, Telehos, Aiesec, and many more. It even has reputed schools like Ryan International, The Banyan Tree School. So, I am not just proud that I live there, at the mercy of my landlord, but what really hurts me is that so many influential people using the facilities, of the well built roads, pruned gardens, each and every tree been taken of, bunch of the best literate people working for some or the other Institutions, driving swanky cars, socializing, are all turning blind. As you negotiate the bend from a distance you can hear the clanging of the bells from the Kali Bari temple, PCR Van around every turn around, wirelessly ensuring the Cities safety. Even the cows walking around are noticed, some members of the nearby socities even hunt for them to offer them food. The stray dogs aren’t stray any more cause they are waiting for an old lady would be calling out for them and give them fresh loaves of bread. So sweet, she does this every evening, she’ll give them a friendly, “Bon Appetit.” They will bark at her and only she can understand that, we’ll meet again, same place same time.
Young boys and girls, flaunting “Being Human” tees in all sizes and colors, the colorful water fountain adding more value to the City’s scape, making it all the more enjoyable is the fried corn, with or without masala in a jiffy. As you digest the fried corn and walk across the east side of the garden you will find, the spot where all people become blind.
It is this very spot that everyone looks but cannot see. Many have stopped and bent over, stretch out their hands not to help but to get their brands of butts from a young boy about the age of ten years. Sitting from morning till night, rain, hail, or storm, ready to serve his customers with a smile.
He gives you all that he has, beedies, an array pan masalas, all types and brands of cigarettes, right under the nose of the City’s Administration. The media that has printed, photographed and fined personalities for smoking in Public, raised anti smoking campaigns, stop child labor, free food facilities for all Govt School, homes for street children, safety of children, human rights, children’s rights. A few feet away from this boy, many even lit candles at the call of Anna Hazare campaign for corruption, gathered, shouting slogans, and giving speeches.
All schools and societies are making mega plans to celebrate Children’s Day this coming November, kids dancing to Sheela ki Jawani, Munni Badnam Hui and Dhinka Chika even in School programs. And all that I can do is just hope, ask and pray that Superman, Spider Man, Power Rangers any color would do, Doremon, Chota Bheem, Mr Bean, Shatiman, would come and rescue this little boy from the snares of the enemy and from all adversities.
Photo by Mast Kabir Khan, age 7, Mount Carmel School, Chandigarh