Street children: What do We do?

Posted by: Shreeya Shakya

Time: around 9 a.m. Day: Every week day, Place: Jamal. Description: Perpetual commotion with honking micro vans, bickering conductors, utterly annoying patient drivers and feebly strained impatient passengers like us, throwing frequent glances over our watch, hoping against hope when the driver would jam his foot on the accelerator pedal, and few irascible ones hollering at the drivers. Surely enough amidst the hustle and bustle, popping out here and there, are the …

………inevitable street children.

Times when you are helplessly relying on the other person to get you some place on time, the least thing you want is being beleaguered by one of those imploring, insistent street children. When already driven to the point of insanity waiting for the vehicle to do what it was engineered to do, with the irksome street children falling all over one’s foot, the sole thought that voices and reverberates within my head is ‘hey.. shoo.. shoo… now don’t you even dare touch my foot kiddo.. I am not even here. I don’t exist for you and you don’t exist for me.. get away from here .run…. shoo … shooo.. ’.

The other day, I was confronted with such a situation and as I tried blithely to avoid any interaction with one of such street children, pulling back my leg below the seat as far as possible, I was secretly elated that I was sitting next to the window where the kid couldn’t reach my foot. However a lady, seated beside me wasn’t quite thinking the same line of thought as I was.

To the kid’s infinite plea for a rupee, she’d responded ‘Look kid, don’t beg when you can work with the two hands you have.. I shall give you 10 rupees if you come with me to work at my home.. .’ Most of us have applied the same trick now and then only finding those malingering kids run away on that remark. She must’ve presumed the kid would throw up this wry smile and poof!! Vanish!! To my surprise and I guess to her’s as well, the kid nodded affirmative and sat obediently on the front seat. I thought ‘Now lady, are you really going to take him home and keep your words?’ May be she was also battling the same question as I could feel her draw heavy breaths. The kid sat there for almost 5 minutes when eventually the conductor dragged him out of the van and we sped forward.

What if the conductor hadn’t pulled him out of the van, would she really have taken him with her? Had she really meant what she’d said, she could’ve stopped the conductor. But then again, we are just everyday people; we are not Mother Teresas, are we? We’ve got our own woes and problems to solve. More so, what if instead of putting up a pretense, I had given the boy a rupee. Though its against my principles to give money to such street children since it only encourages them to beg further, I find it hard myself to reconcile the ambivalent thoughts of altruism and rationality. In those times I often recall one of my highly socially inclined teachers telling us, ‘I play my part by giving those kids money, its up to them to make a wise use of it.. ’

But who is going to tell them to be wise, when they are sniffing away dendrite? Do they even see the line separating wrong and right, when rummaging through the garbage? Moreover we are of the general consensus that the street children are incorrigible. Even if the lady had taken the kid with her, would the kid have been at least even grateful to her? Most likely not. After a day or two, in all probability, he would return to his old habit of incessant begging.

It is a well acknowledged fact that the country is loosing its talents to the streets. With the ‘new’ Nepal, one can only wish the street children’s plight is well addressed. Till then, as everyday people, I try and piece together our share of possibilities, ‘should we pretend that we don’t care?..’ or ‘should we give away few bucks?’ or ‘ should we second thoughts like the lady’s and put those in action??’ I am left wondering again for the umpteenth time and can only draw a heavy sigh as I constantly remember the kid’s soiled face with a glimmer of hope of a better future which was crushed the very next moment.

Published in The Kathmandu Post on 14 March 2007. http://kantipuronline.com/kolnews.php?&nid=103545

Street children: What do We do? was last modified: March 13th, 2007 by Shreeya Shakya
 

Blog Comments

  1. theresa

    Dear
    A very wise person once said: If you have money and someone asks you for help, then it is no longer your money, but God’s [anonymous].
    The act of TRUE giving is through non-attachment — having no expectations for the how’s, when’s and wherefore’s from the giver. And besides, don’t you get something back in return for your act of giving? So I suppose, the “beggars” in their own way are truly gift givers too!

  2. Geeta

    I convinced Pawan to seek a Geeta lesson. He will be back with different style and you all see humble Pawan.

    Geeta – the Geeta Lover!

  3. pawandisappearafterthis

    naughty nifty “pawan” character disappears after this comment posting above. What has happened to him? If you are still alive re-surface again.

  4. tom

    hey nicely written article..
    good flow.. maybe a lil too many musings..but thumps up..

    p.s – pawan, attention problems ?

  5. pawan

    Hey don’t cry, just stay away from touchy-optimistic-enthusiasm and blah blah. I hope it’s not so hard for you software geeks. You see, it’s not that hard to see everything differently when you are trained to see them laterally.

  6. JaiNepal

    Shreeya You should learn atleast something from Pawan. He is a great person. Have you ever seen a blog without his comments. But sad to say all bullshit comments. He never keep his ideas here but he is just born to show his smartness by his silly comments specially if article is posted by Female. You should write an article on such a sick people rather than Street children.

  7. shreeya

    pawan.. everytime u post a comment, u point me to a whole new direction of thought…. why dont u give me a list of things to write on for enthusiastic, smart, intelligent bloggers like urself …

  8. pawan

    ha ha, prakash thinks his positive ideas gonna do something good for those street kids. Hey man go and sell your positive idea to those kids.

  9. Prakash

    Its very good and touchy article Shreeya. Keep up your good work. You have got this knack for writing good article like this.
    And pawan, Lekhak and Nepalistreethawker are representing overall common legpulling syndrome which is prevalent in Nepalese society. I have not seen any optimisstic and positive postings from Pawan so far in this blog. Better learn to have some positive attitude in life.

  10. dovan

    very touching one shreeya…

    I guess most of us pass through this confusion daily as u have stated “I find it hard myself to reconcile the ambivalent thoughts of altruism and rationality”.

    And what are these Pawan, Lekhak and nepali streethawker doing with their ugly comments under such a beautiful article.

    “run…. shoo … shooo..”

  11. Nepalistreethawker

    Even Shreeya dear has such humane feeling? from when? by looking at this site in other corners, we feel you as rude, selfish,inhumane, and insolvent. It is good like Nepali actor Rajesh hamal offerig them pies from time to time to become popular, but no actresses!!! Even not being an actor, you tried to gain sympathy from the street hawkers, which is best part on your ideology if they are reading your article from ekantipur or this blog site everestuncensored.org, if I, representing one of the hawkers is not mistaken. By putting it in a,b,c,d,ekantipur,f kantipur…you are good in showing the plight of Nepali hawkers unlike in Delhi, Bombay India where 100s are killed everyday when vehicles run over them sleeping on the sky roof during night. There is nocountry where hawkers do not exist. Even god cannot distribute Natural wealth equally well. If you are superbly beautiful/handsome, your neighborhood may have bamboos or thick vases unlike Cocacola Advertisement. Let us forget them, leave them on their duties, and help serve those who are going to lead a better life from families, not hawker life. Theory of natural Selection and Survival of the fittest!!

  12. Lekhak

    First, the link doesn’t point to your article in another site.

    Second, I wouldn’t have spent that much time writing this article and thinking for nothing, If I were you, I would either ask the lady to give him a chance or I would give the promised 10 rupees for his daringness and desperateness. That would have been a reward.

    I beleive in not giving them money though. You encourage them to beg in doing so.

  13. pawan

    What do you mean by ‘we’. Are you trying to drag the fellow bloggers into your psycho mess? Can’t you decide anything for yourself?

  14. Saurav

    You have sum up a true conduction of what you called “NEW NEPAL” with simple examples. Is it really new a Nepal? For me it is almost same as old just name changed but behaviors remains same.
    Probably the conditions are even worst as you might have seen.
    Yesterday I was in Pashupati. It was funeral of my friend. His body was in front of us. The last rituals are being offered to him. At some distance a groups of kids were watching. I was quite surprise and thinking what the kids are looking for. Definitely they are not interested in the rituals as this is not new for them. At the end, just before the body was set on fire, the Pandit takes out his cloths. At that time I come to know that they are there looking for the cloths. They run for it and take all the clots thrown in the river. When we were probably paying last tribute to our friend, kids were busy in distributing the cloths among themselves.
    …….. ……………………………..
    Things will get much worst if we did not work towards it. Lets hope these things will improve soon…

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