Sunday, September 7, 2008

Happiness for free, anyone?





These pictures are taken en route my jogging track.. about a stones throw away from my house. Let me put things in perspective...this small area these kids are playing is reclaimed land, which used to be mangroves, to be redeveloped for a club house. There is a small fencing segregating the area these kids can play in from the jogging track-semi playground.
A look at the kids from elite South Mumbai families fortunate enough to be playing in the playground ... all of them would, needless to say be dressed in the best of clothes, most wearing the new fad among kids - crocs for footwear. (crocs cost no less than 800-1500 rs even in the kids range). All kids have their aayah's (maids) accompanying, and less than 3 feet away from them, monitoring their every move, fervently wiping dirty hands, cushioning a fall and other such activities within then realm of 'taking care of the child'. Each child has his or her own sand basket, skipping rope or some other fancy toy, swinging on dinosaur swings or the T-Rex slides... with neat little matching clips in hair, disney water bottles in short, each thing they own is monogrammed, branded or some form of exclusive.
The pictures of the kids above is from the slum nearby, who have made the Ganesh idol from mud, and worship it everyday with the accompanying music (provided by beating wooden sticks on stones and chants), dance around the idol. Been watching them since a few days, finally curiosity overcame and i hopped over and had a look at the Ganesh. The picture does not do justice to what these children have made. There are tiny flowers, buttons and other scrap adorning him... he's never left alone, always guarded by at least one child.
I am fascinated with street children. It takes sheer ingenuity, or possibly forceful circumstances to spend an hour playing with a broken rubber tyre or a few sticks and stones and be that engrossed, and happy.... I told these kids Id come give them printouts of the pictures upon which i was asked 'Aunty aap bhoologi nahi na?' (Aunty u wont forget right?), of course i cringed at the word 'Aunty' :) but whats there, my phone was tossed around 15 hands looking curiously at their pictures in it. These kids who on an average mustve been about years made for a truly Happy smile on my face.
When i first asked if i could take a pictue, they were a little skeptical... after all how many of us 'rich people' really bother to take notice and even spend a minute asking them their names, let alone taking pictures. Initial cynicism once surpassed, they were more than happy to pile into a photo and give me bigg grins.
It saddens me... these children are exposed to the other children in the park.. with their expensive clothes and fancy waterbottles and playing on colourful swing sets. How do you tell a four - five year old child that those swings are out of bounds? Your not allowed to swing because u live in the slum? would he even understand what rich and poor is?
Having said that, these children are content with their rubber typre hung off a tree. I didnt see a Single face looking at the park with the other children wishing he or she could be there, and for that Im glad.


12 comments:

Psyched said...

this one is indeed amongst the best u've written so far...

and by the way... when i was a lil kid... i used to love the idea of being able to do stuff like that... hang on to the rubber tyre swings...... jump into muddy waters... from a floor high...

Jack Sparrow said...

:) This post really made me smile. I love how you wrote this ! Took me back to my childhood, when I was surrounded by the rich South Bombay kids and their brands and expensive toys. But I remembered that the most fun I ever had had little to do with expensive things. I loved getting covered with mud and sweat, just running around and falling down and climbing up trees :)

Also, the kids in the photos look truly happy ! I don't think there are too many examples of true happiness better than peals of laughter from kids enjoying themselves ! Who cares about Crocs anyway :)

Absolutely Normal Chaos said...

I loved this post. I used to think that children don't really distinguish between rich/poor, high class/low class and other social distinctions if they're really young. Sadly, I don't think that's true anymore. Even if no one spells it out for them, they tend to imbibe social hierarchies while they're still young. Sad, huh?

Anandit _ Andy said...

This is cool. Nice blog. I must admit i qam in love with your photographie. Njoy and keep visiting my blog.

Anil P said...

When 'having fun' relies on dependencies there's little creativity to bring pleasure.

So these kids must consider themselves lucky to be able to craft their own good time from the surroundings.

'S' said...

Nice post....!

Serendipity said...

Thanks everyone :)

perplexed said...

wow! really enjoyed reading this one! :)

It's fine when they are little kids but the problem starts when they grow up and learn the difference between the rich and the poor. I wish the kid in them never dies and that they can hold on to this happiness for as long as they can.

Just another Indian said...

awesome writing !

Serendipity said...

Thanks pplex :)

@ Indian - how long has it been :)

Cuckoo said...

I just loved this one. I wonder how rich are their childhood compared to 'rich' kids'.

Keep writing. You write well.

Cuckoo

Jenna Marie Howard said...

Hello
I just wanted to stop by and tell you thank you for caring for orphans. As I have read through your blogs on children I am encouraged that I am not alone in this fight to help orphaned and abandoned children. I am the Director of Public Relations for a non-profit organization called World Orphans. We build church based orphan homes all over the world and our mission is simple E3 to reach each church…each child…each community. I would love for you to take a look at our website and let me know if you have any questions. (www.worldorphans.com) thank you again for your heart and words that you have written. I hope you will have a glorious blessed day!
Jenna M. Howard
-Director of Public Relations
www.Worldorphans.org
Jennah@worldorphans.org
www.JennaMarieHoward.com