Monday, November 23, 2009

Slum life is a reluctant tryst with suffering


The life in the slums is an unwilling compromise with all suffering.
The breath one has to take is at the mercy of slumlords, policemen, politicians.
Child welfare and child labor laws have no relevance here, survival is the only objectives.
And don't ever think of human right violations.
Compromises don't let natural sensitivities survive.
From childhood, any trade that fetches a piece of bread is salvation.
Respectability comes only through crime.
To be a girl in the slums and defend modesty is a Herculean task.
Slums, established and growing on encroached public and private lands, sustain everything that is illegal, and immoral.
Misfortune is their birthday gift.
Slum-dwellers are always at the receiving end, never protected.
They have to live all their life in hell.
No suicides can lure them.
Education, even if made available, has no takers in the struggle for survival.
Health is god-given.
They all wish to do well, and by any means.
Destiny plays games with them, often cruel.
They opt for short cuts to prosperity but are often undone by a bolt from blue.
Slums are true secular habitations. No religious impediments, no social barriers, all are equal.
They don't seek Oscars, only a healing touch, warmth of hospitality, a pat on the back, a little trust to empower them. World is ready with Oscars, not affection.
Slums are open universities, complete with thorough practical knowledge.
They teach one how to negotiate misfortune with dishonestly.
They have only life time courses, graduates pass out at sunset.

Yamini Ajaykumar, Pune
Letters to the Editor, Sakaal Times

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