The search for the chewing gum wrapper

This is about an incident which took place over 6 months ago. Something which makes me think, something which impacts me profoundly.
I was waiting at the South Extension bus stop for my friend (Its one of the ‘posh’ areas of Delhi), she had to give me some assignments. She called me up to inform that she’d be a little late. I remember each and everything from there. As I stood there waiting I saw two kids- dirty, torn clothes, with sunken faces. The older one would be around 4-5 years old and younger would be 1.5-2. Both of them started playing. The elder one started pulling his brother’s hands on the bus stop and dragging him. The younger one enjoyed it- it was like a ride to him. They were laughing and smiling.

All of a sudden as if reality struck them, the elder boy left his brother and started begging. He went to each and every person, I could see the reluctance on his face- how he just dint want to do it. He then came to me, I tried to caress his cheeks but instinctively he moved away. He was scared, he was skeptical and I really don’t blame him for most of the times these kids get beaten up or rebuked. Then something happened- a scene which will be engraved in my mind forever. The younger boy sat down on the side of the pavement  to defecate. The elder one stood besides him. I just couldn’t help but stand there, watch and cry. Then suddenly the elder brother asked him if he was done. He started looking around frantically on the ground. I couldn’t figure out what he was trying to do. Then I saw it- he picked up a piece of paper, dropped it and then picked up another piece ( It was a chewing-gum wrapper) and handed it over to his younger brother who cleaned himself up using that wrapper. I stood there frozen, endless tears tricked down my cheeks. I wanted to do something, anything yet just couldn’t grasp the intensity of the situation.

I felt guilty for being able to afford luxury while kids smaller than me don’t have water and other facilities to clean up. I felt ashamed of being able to wear good clothes when so, so many people don’t have even a single clean piece of cloth. I just kept on crying- clueless and ashamed. Then my friend came along and was just perplexed when she saw me crying. I told her to leave me alone and boarded the next bus to college. Throughout my way to college and for the whole day I kept on thinking- Why am I here and they there?  What have I done to deserve a comfortable life while so many kids cant afford basic amenities? Even if I assume there is Karma behind this, don’t I and all of us have some sort of duty, some obligations towards them? Should I be complacent about my life while a kid doesn’t have means to clean his poop? I did not do anything  about it at that time but this incident is engraved in my conscious and  has impacted me in more ways I can articulate. It will always remind me of how much I have got to do, how much I have to work to strive towards my goal of being the change I wish to see in this world. 

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