Tag Archives: india

Thought #29. The blinkered game.

A strange threesome, arranged along the picture, as if it were an unsolved puzzle, except that it is not.

A woman, dressed in blue and advanced in years, shows a scrawny physique. She tell us the story of a world marked by poverty and hunger, a world of social inequalities and gender disparities. She is not ill, she is a death-in-life symbol.

The little sign that says “tourist” indicates the presence of foreigners, probably wealthy visitors. In a global world where the plight of the poor is also a business, where only a part plays God over the rest, we cannot shut the stable door after the horse has bolted.

The blinkered animal next to the woman. It unveils another dismal reality. For want of willingness to help others, the vast majority of us are incapable of understanding the boundaries between a sense of guilt (or the lack of it) and our own ability to contribute to improving the quality of life of hundreds of human beings.

A blinkered person usually features, amongst other characteristics, bigotry, narrow-mindedness, intolerance and tunnel vision. In my humble opinion, they represent the plight of the rich. Because underneath that external display, blinkered people are just insecure and ignorant.

If only we opened our eyes. If only we were not on another planet. But, I am hopeful.

Thought #15. Poverty line: a buzzword.

“The poverty line” is the official level supposedly needed to achieve a basic living standard. Updated by the World Bank in October 2015, the new figure of $1.90 was born as a more accurate approximation of the changing costs of living that people around the world need to cover.

Governments may have been forced to resort to facts and figures to explain poverty, which I personally consider completely unnecessary (if not mere misleading information), but we should expect and demand effective action from our leaders.

I would not go so far as to say that it is useless or impractical. In some way, statistics can offer some insight into the subject. And yet it is a proven fact that all the measures taken have been thus far incapable of triggering an upturn in wellness, especially in war-torn and famine-stricken countries. In my opinion, the problem arises when we eventually fall into a state of contentment.

Mainstream media abounds with opinionated journalists claiming that the international community is expected to shoulder all the responsibility for the issue. Once more, another fallacious reasoning like saying that by all accounts, little can be done either as a single person or as an individual country. It never ceases to amaze me how we dare accept these premises as facts.

The plight of the poor is our own worst enemy. Should a worthy war exist, it must be fighting poverty. And fighting poverty means going to any lengths to overcome the always unfair inequality. Because as familiarity breeds contempt, inequality breeds injustice.

As if it had not been enough for Third World people who, on a daily basis, are suffering the starving conditions of their countries, some Europe and North American leaders would still look down on their counterpart leaders (of the so-called “developing” countries) and, at the same time, the developed world looks away when thousands of people are literally in a state of extreme famine.

The moment I took the picture above, I slipped and injured the big toe of the left foot. My toe was bleeding and I was unable to control the sharp pain. Some of the men that were sitting down on the floor suddenly rose to their feet and inquired after my injury. They gave me directions to the closest pharmacy and one of them even provided me with a makeshift bandage. All politeness and hospitality. Given for free. Now, as an afterthought, I feel responsible for their lack of resources. I have more than I will ever need. They will always have much less than they deserve.

There is no need for a “poverty line”. It is understandable to everyone who has visited a poor country the fact that our upbringing has kept us in blissful ignorance. Luckily, there are many NGOs working on the ground. They do know full well how to cope with difficulties and provide people in need with basic tools to improve their life prospects. Aid in the form of money must be channelled through the entities that have the knowledge, the capacity and, most importantly, the desire to help. We can do our bit.

“To eradicate poverty we need many hands. I only have two” ― Vicente Ferrer.

If you want to make a donation or fund a specific project, please take a look at http://www.vicenteferrer.org.

Thought #8. Childhood.

Since the very instant we arrived at New Delhi’s airport I was overwhelmed with mixed feelings. I was fascinated by the display of hospitality so characteristic of these dwellers but at the same time, I knew I would have run into shocking scenes.

We were going to leave the hotel at the crack of dawn. I am not a morning person but that night I did not sleep a wink and decided to wander around the area. A flood of rickshaws ready to be pulled by skinny riders was the first reminder of how different life must be in India.

Being a child is not the same everywhere. My holiday in India, one of the biggest countries in the world, taught me a lesson. The harsh lifestyle that these human beings have to overcome every minute of their lives is miserable. Living in such conditions could undermine anyone.

Astonishingly enough, I have not seen so many children grinning from ear to ear in my whole life as I did in India. They probably have nothing but zest for life in their struggle to get by.

Later that day, I was pointing the camera through the window during the planned sightseeing in New Delhi when a little boy hidden behind a makeshift mask appeared. I had a split second to trigger the shutter. A red wall, a child, a kite.

Each time I look at this picture I see the kindness of a child that innocently helps me to keep those mixed feelings alive, forever.