A few years ago, I was on my way to a friend’s place, but seemed to have lost my way — to be fair, I was in an engineering college then and that was a completely accepted state of mind and being. While navigating my path through Bombay’s popular bylanes, with expert help from the just-(and-always)-around-the-corner-paanwallah’s, in whom I place more faith than Google Maps anyday. I almost think we need an Uber-like rating system for these folks too. Hmm.
Relieved (and mentally rating the guy 5 stars for his accuracy and services, I could see the building right across the street, I started walking over — in the most-Indian way. Now, most of us don’t realize this, but the unique technique of crossing the road makes us more Indian than the festivals we celebrate, really.
We glance both left and right so fast that we could actually spot The Flash and have a conversation with him about Mumbai’s traffic and still be stuck there, because… well, traffic. Keeping up with the tradition, I very comfortably reached the crossroads, quite literally (damn you, engineering). That’s when I noticed something:
On one side of the street, were a bunch of children being accompanied by their parents to school — always makes for a happy picture. But, that’s when I also noticed another bunch of kids on the other side, almost of the same age, who were picking up rag — and vast divide between what these two shouldered, shook the very essence of me. The magnitude of the inequality completely redefined the crossroad I stood on. Forever.
Numb, angry, helpless, fuelled, tearful and desperate — I felt all of it, at once. Still do.
Since then everything I have done in life, from being more active on campus towards social/developmental projects to the career and lifestyle I have chosen are deeply stemmed from there. As a kid, my parents always demonstrated and taught what it means to be a better human being and I will be forever grateful to them for that.
This particular experience left me wanting for more. During my many (sleepless) nights since then, I have played and re-played that scene in mind numerous times and imagined that crossroad to be a vertical representation of an equal-sign, that’s how disparate, unequal (if I may) we are.
I have decided to do all it takes to push the sign and keep trying, one day at a time, hoping it becomes what it truly stands for:
This blog was written by Dharmaraj Solanki, who believes in doing what is right and is one of the most observant people ConnectFor has met. Here’s a wonderful employee and friend :)