Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Another World Exists

My name is Anil Das. I was featured in the 22nd. December '08 edition of India Today. I however am no celebrity. I am neither a prodigy, nor a uber cool member of the GenZ that is poised to lead India to her epochal heights. I am not a pacifist, and I don't understand terms as esoteric as socialism and capitalism. I am, but a twelve year old worker in a dingy little working class dhaba in Bhowanipur, South Calcutta. I work overtime, often upto 17 hours unceasingly, in a lugubrious ambience, stirring endless pots of tea for the laborers of Calcutta's U-rail project. I have never known a school from inside. Likewise for kindness, warmth and love. Ever. Sometimes, my thoughts wander over to the bucolic settlement of my village at Midnapore, wherein my mother is slowly succumbing to her battles with her ailments and my siblings are desperately fighting starvation.

I'm very happy today. I have been rewarded. The tea stall owner came and promised me that he would give me Rs. 40 instead of the Rs. 25 that I make. I am happy. My eyes are shining as I vigorously stir the tea. Maybe, some day, if I work this hard, I'll set up my own dhaba. Maybe, some day, I'll be able to feed my siblings and treat my ailing mother. Thank you God, for helping me earn more money for my family....

Another World Exists!


honshu5 said...

before i comment, id love to have a notice on ur blog: "Caution: read with a dictionary at hand"
bucolic! first time on my ears! good choice of the word though, i still have lightyears to learn from u!

honshu5 said...

1. wats ur take on this? or is this a direct excerpt from the news?

2. using first person in 1st & 2nd paras is quite unsettling, coz their diction & phrasing is pole apart! You might put the first as narration in 3rd person, though it wouldn't complete the whole post. What do you think?

3. Millions of Anils around, whats the point? I'm stirred, but should i be content with being stirred? To be blunt, how better is this post than Aaj Tak's flashy takes at the downtrodden?

moral of the comment: YOUR TAKE / POINT UNCLEAR

Hatikvah said...

I wrote this post after reading a couple of articles on how people are sad that Christmas won't be celebrated with its usual gaiety and that Saint Nicholas is without a job this 25th. My take is simple: If Anil can be happy by getting an increment to Rs. 40/ then all of us can jolly well do without piles of gifts. A simple attitude helps...
I do agree with the second point though. I however, saw no solution to it (except for cutting down on those words). I however wanted it to be in first person, for, while the story is Anil's, the point was mine - that we can enjoy, that we can be at peace, no matter what happens...

honshu5 said...

in that case i would suggest a subtle reframing of your title, in order to stress / explain your point better. "Another world exists" is a statement with loose ends. Maybe : ours & theirs, or comparative worries or the similar would help

Anonymous said...

Hi Hatvikah, I thought this post was written in a different context unless I read your reply to Honshu's comments.

However, I have no issues with you writing about something that we can't do much about. Agreed this isn't much different from a news channel's takes at the downtrodden but so what? Does that mean that since this exists and is inevitable, we just ignore it completely?

Makes me glad to see more and more people like you at least showing concern about this state of affairs. And I'm sure, if you are concerned, you would be doing whatever possible in your own way. Keep doing it :)

Hatikvah said...

Thanks for dropping by Rakesh! As I wrote for Honshu, it really wasn't about highlighting the inadequacies of the downtrodden. Its a sad reality, and we'd rather get on the streets to make a real difference, than write a blog about it. I wrote it after I read a barrage of cynical blogs, from people who really had no clue about hardships and I found them cribbing about life. Seemed comical. Just wanted to highlight the difference a good attitude can make.

Unpretentious Diva said...

Ahhh another classical emotional melodramatic post.

Anyways it is a good work yet not reasonable.

What do you think about the tea stall owner who is providing Mr Anil Das a respectable way to earn a hinest living and helping his mother?

Is he cruel evil person? or is he a reasonably honest person providing a rather safe work for mr Anil Das so that he may live hinestly and with honour, as he isn't doomed to beg or die, he has got WORK to do.

The back bone of any nation is that force which provides work for those poor but eligible workers.

Anyways, our indoctrinating government in India taught us alot, like university in diversity, education for all etc...

Recently, I researched about the program of Sarv Shiksha Yojna, the education for all BS.
And I realized how idiotic it is...
Here is the report--

The Myth of Education for All

And then my colleague raised a very genuine question,

is Education a Fundamental Right?

Obviously answer is not it is not a fundamental right.

Yet, because our peers says that educating every body is good cause.
So I myself started working in slums visiting poor kids trying to educate them and I got enormous experience about it.

And I expressed my experience about it here--

The Real Grounds- Child Labor Bhopal

After reading those reports, your feeling about mr Anil Das and that tea stall owner will change. you will start respecting both of them.

Hatikvah said...

Whew! I'm glad that I'm slightly familiar with your style Diva, or else, you were more akin to an avalance on its way to wiping out poor-little-me. To begin with, I'd like to let you know that I really like your style. Its forceful and very well researched. I'd however request you to reread the post. It was, in no ways, implying any vitriol against Anil or the tea stall owner. Rather, the post highlighted how Anil's dreams remained, simple, uncomplicated and most importantly they refused to be subjugated by the hardships that he faced. This post was written after I read a couple of articles bemoaning the lack of gaiety in Christmas for the world (given the recession, terrorism, et al). I'd say, we still can enjoy, without a grand overload of gifts. Sometimes, a bit of love, and belief in your dreams suffices. Don't you think so?

gel said...

HI- I'm here from a blog I can't remember the name of, but it was one that vehemently denounced the pope's and Catholic church's ridiculous and damaging views on human rights, homosexuality in particular.

I didn't state on her post that I am straight because that is irrelevant. I've ALWAYS been ACTIVELY for human rights and so I am here. I'm struck by the title of your blog. That Hebrew word is one I have known since I was a child and hope certainly is what fills my soul and nourishes me. Beautiful blog banner and outlook. (I have only read this one post but will be on to read more.)

Long hours are a known entity to our family so I feel for you being drained physically and emotionally. I'm happy for you for the increase in pay and HOPE that it is for more than this one day. Nice to have met you.

gel said...

Oops, although I understand bucolic I forgot to say "Anil" in my comment above, not "you" personally. (I did read your profile.) I've been traveling through blogland via the Sun. Scribblings prompt.

Reflections said...

Touching story....if we really look hard there is a bit of Anil in all of us...well ok most of us.

Wishing U a very HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!!

honshu5 said...

Ms Diva,
I am yet to take a look at your links, but I am strongly against your invisible statement that a bigger sin wipes off many smaller ones. While I am not commenting personally on the tea stall owner or anybody else, i have been to enough tea stalls to know how they operate. The owner is providing employment to Anil, not because he has a heart, but because it makes economic sense. An adult help would have asked higher wages. Also, it does not help that child labour is against the law, & moreover Anil's life is being wasted by working when he should be getting educated.

If i were to project your opinion on a larger scale, all those who employ children: whether they be in firecracker factories or tea stalls or house-help, they should be lauded for their effort.

Please do me a favour & visit one of these places. Im sure you'd like to reword your comments.

My point is that either of the above situation is pathetic, which I guess was Hatikvah's point (read PERSPECTIVE)

Unpretentious Diva said...

I'd however request you to reread the post. It was, in no ways, implying any vitriol against Anil or the tea stall owner. Rather, the post highlighted how Anil's dreams remained, simple, uncomplicated and most importantly they refused to be subjugated by the hardships that he faced.

Well, I must confess, I am a selfish brat. I read your post, and saw the same consequence of such writings, the write up is enough emotionally strong to make many of readers feel "that" which should be opposed. The feeling of guilt, that a little boy is forced to work. Very few will understand his joy at the prospects of gaining the promotion and some more bucks for his hardwork.

So I enforced my posts here to stress that the boy is happy, and the man whom many readers may assume as a villain as he is promoting child-work, is actually not a villain but the santa for the boy.

So what I mean to say is, my comment was less directed for your lovely write-up, it was more directed towards the possible consequences of such write-up. They make the indoctrinated "selfless" people feel guilt and responsibility to remove "poverty" from world by means of charity! (which is impossible)'
Infact there is no objective definition of poverty. We consider poverty as comparison, See I and may be you also are SOOO much poor if compared to Ambani or TATA!. So should we look for charity from them? Government interventions to make us rich?
Nah, the only way is we work we gain we live happily and make our riches, our value, our worth.
Same is true for that little boy.

Anyways, I would like to have a link exchange with you, if you think my blog is worthy enough, please blogroll me and in return I will blogroll you :)

honshu5 said...

Two things in your post, either i can't understand, or i am missing the point: CHARITY & AMBANIS..

I am not sure how this point came up. I was never suggesting charity, much less promoting it to "selfless" & "indoctrinated" people.
I am sure Anil must be very happy at the economical elevation in his life. But, the point still remains that he is at a disadvantage. His present happiness will be his future loss, where he will end up as a possible tea-stall owner. If he were to get educated, he would have been much better off. I am not even starting to talk that his employment may be illegal.

However, all children have a right to education. Any act that takes away this right is a violation of their rights. I am not missing the perspective that their families need their income. Ofcourse they do! But i would have been happier if the tea stall owner had enrolled him for night classes (at owner's cost) instead of increasing his wages. That way, he would be making an investment in the child's future, something Anil would later have been thankful for all his life. By giving him an economic carrot, the tea stall owner is leading Anil on the opposite path, where he will think education is a waste of time...

PS: i am quite uneducated with blogs, i don't know the meaning of blogroll... kindly enlighten me..