Sunday, September 27, 2009


It was the occasion of ‘Navratri’ and celebrations were going on in my complex building. The DJ had come at sharp 8 pm. At 9pm, he started playing loud music. Soon, kids, youngsters and oldies started dancing on his beats. The big gate, which usually, remains open, was shut tightly. But, I could not understand why?

Soon a deluge of bystanders gathered at the gate and started staring inside. Perhaps, this was why the gates were shut for the bystanders are not people like us. They belong to that part of the society, which cannot afford to spend even a single paisa on entertainment. Surprising was not merely the act of staring, but also the look on their faces. They were looking in with a kind of satisfaction and interest we have while watching a film in theatre. Few of them must have cursed the fact that the gate was shut.

I don’t know why but it arouse a kind of insecurity in me. After all, what is the difference between me and them? Why is that the gates are not closed to me? Why does the guard of local electronics store warmly open the gates of his shop, while a numbers of bystanders are staring at television sets inside to know the score of the match? The difference is simple and the fact that it is so simple strikes me.

Ten years back, I and a friend used to attend coaching classes. There was this fellow known as Prakash. He was bright and cunning. His father was not making much money and therefore he had started taking coaching classes for school kids. As I said, he was cunning, the only reason that a deluge of students would come up to him was because he could get the examination paper leaked. Those who had rich parents labeled him as crook. Even I think he was a crook, but he was smarter than all of us. He could crack any accounting or tax question faster than us.

It was the third and final year of our course and we were all writing entrance exam for MBA schools. I asked Praskash “Aren’t you also writing the exam” He said “No, I am not interested in this course”

I told this to my friend Karthik. Unlike me, he was not surprised. I said, “Why is this fellow not appearing in exam” Right then Karthik said “You know Sachin too is appearing in entrance exam” I replied “Sachin that hardworking yet dumb guy” Karthik said “Yeah, you can say that he is dumb but he will make it to a MBA school”

“But why not Prakash” I said. “Prakash can’t do it even if he wants. His dad does not have money to fund his education. Don’t you know that” said Karthik irritatingly. So what is the difference between Prakash and Sachin? That Sachin’s dad can spend on his education. And because Prakash’s dad can’t, no matter how bright he is, he will still struggle.

Till this point of our conversation, I was only surprised. But Karthik’s following words shocked me, “It’s always like that, as if you dint know” The world is cruel towards Prakash and those bystanders for reasons they cannot do anything about. The only difference between me and them is our parentage. I was born to educated middle class parents and therefore I am an educated and upper middle class guy. The bystanders were born to illiterates and destitute and therefore they are ignorant and poor. The difference between us is just a thin line of fate.

We really don’t wonder when a rickshaw puller asks us , “Sir, what is the time”. He is so poor that he can’t even afford a watch. We simply tell him the time thinking that it’s normal for him to ask. Strange are the ways, we are conditioned that we are oblivious to reality most of the times.

The fellas who were dancing within the boundaries of my complex did not know that the onlookers, who were staring at them, were hapless poor. For them, they were merely onlookers.

1 comment:

Renuka said...

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