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Hunger in times of plenty

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17th-Mar-2017       
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Life Desk :
Sundays, for me, are a mix of happy and sad feelings. Happy, for all the fun that Sunday brings, and sad for the end of my happy weekend. But, today I was gloomy for a different reason. After my usual "Sunday evening fun-ride" with my friend through the greenest and cleanest streets of the upscale South and Lutyens' Delhi, I saw something utterly disappointing and dismal.
After an appetizing dinner of my usual favourite non-vegetarian platter of lip-smacking kebabs and Mughlai delicacies flavoured with exotic spices, we were heading back home, when my friend stopped to attend an urgent phone call. We halted near a metro construction site and I saw a set of labourers with their families. They probably spent their nights on the pavement. Seeing my friend busy on the call and with nothing to do, I started to take a stroll along the footpath. That is when I saw her. A little girl around the age of three to four years tugging onto an older boy, most likely her brother. She was battling for her share of fruit with the boy, who was enjoying it all alone. When I looked closely, it was a watermelon rind (the outer green part of watermelon) that hardly had any trace of the pink pulp. The boy was busy biting the white flesh that had little bits of the red-pink pulp and the girl was crying and battling for her share of morsel. Her cries drew their mother's attention who was sitting close by. She walked up to them with a knife and cut the melon rind into two and handed them both with a piece each. The girl stopped crying and both got busy nibbling on their share of richness. The sheer contentment on their face made me flinch.
The whole scene was too much for me to take and I felt my throat getting dry. The flavours of the delicious meal that I had enjoyed for my dinner vanished from my taste buds. And I stood there feeling miserable and guilty. That was a moment of realization for me. I was jolted with a rush of thoughts looking at the joy on their faces. It reminded me of the thousand times that I had refused meals at home for many silly reasons, or had secretly dumped leftovers into the kitchen dustbin. Most of us have this awful habit of being painfully choosy with the food that we like to eat. "Awful," yes I realised it to be an awful habit only two days back.
Just then my friend ended his phone call and signaled me to come over. I hopped onto the bike and we headed back home, zipping through the streets drenched in yellow from the streets lights. The sight refused to leave me. It pained me how we all somewhere witness such things every other day but we have all started to accept them as ordinary sights, not really deserving much attention. That's the way it is...we all think, I guess.
But this is not really a trivial issue and we ought to give it a thought. A majority of people in our country are trapped in such misery. We consume ourselves in 'assumed' important news such as political issues, controversies of nationals and anti-nationals, protests, not realising that a huge population of our country stay untouched by this and sleep hungry, die of untreated diseases and suffers the perils of leading homeless lives. Isn't it time for us to give back?
-TNN

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