Today I saw the real life version of the movie Slumdog Millionaire. Checking out the view made up of concrete buildings outside the window, an old familiar song from a Hindi movie resonated into my ears. The train accelerated its trust on the tracks as I turned around to see where the song is coming from. In a land where Hindi is scarcely spoken, every time I hear a single syllable of the language it brings me a familiar feel. Though meduva meduva this familiarity is lapping Tamil too into its boundaries.
The song was ‘pardesi jana nahi’ from the movie Raja Hindustani and it wasn’t the rhythm of the music but rather the quirky voice made my head turn. A boy aged around 13 or so with an old harmonium hanging around his neck was trying hard to give his best shot to match the high notes of this song. Accompanied by two more kids, a girl around 5 year old and a boy of almost 10 year with one leg missing walking with the crutches and collecting alms from the passengers. The three reminded me of the kids from Slumdog Millionaire, Jamal, Salim and Latika. I don’t know what their story is but I am sure the desperation and abjection is not far from the storyline of the reel one.
When the innocence gets lost in the dust of the empty streets, living a life on the edges makes you street smart and that was clearly visible on their faces. As I looked into their faces many questions were aroused in my mind. Not that I was feeling pity for them, my encounter with such faces everyday have left me indifferent towards them, but today I was feeling a sense of anger. Anger on all of us for being just a silent spectator. Anger for those who make use of innocence for their benefit. And anger towards everyone who helps them achieve this by giving them alms. Was lost in the thoughts when the next stop came and the kids got down getting into another train. And before I could take out my mobile camera to capture a glimpse of them, they vanished in the crowd, leaving behind many questions unanswered. What am I doing for them? How can we tackle this menace? What if tomorrow our children are kidnapped and forced to live a life like this? Why don’t we understand that the real solution doesn’t lie in giving them some share from our change? Many laws and acts have been formed but all in vain. So what can be an effective solution for protecting the innocence being murdered on the streets? Do you have an answer? Do let me know.