renal malfunction in a venal world

It is amazing how the micro and the macro level of every occurrence appear almost simultaneously.

In a recent blog, I had recounted the trials and tribulations of our very own Nanhe's mom who had been told by some hassled medico to go get a kidney if she wanted to save her son! As any desperate mother she heard only what she wanted to and set out on her search. The predator was lurking in the garb of a caring uncle who assessing her worth fixed 17 000 as the price of a kidney made in america.

We were still in the midst of trying to find a solution whereby a mother's love would be satisfied and a child given the best treatment available, when the tsunami survivors tale hit the press. Now needless to say that the kidney bought from someone belonging to one side of the fence would give life to someone from the other or even to someone from other lands as today medical tourism is here to stay! The tale of two Indias unfolds again. A father steals a hammer to give medical treatment to his aling child and is killed for it; a woman sells her kidney to pay her husband's medical bill: the stories go and on, each one more desperate, each one urging us to take notice and do something.

The something I agree is elusive and probably still indefinable, but one thing is certain: we have to bridge the gap that is growing by the minute and may soon become an abyss we will unable to come out of.

What we dismiss as the poor are not living on some other planet but standing at our very doorstep. The rising number of urban migrants are a proof of that. They come with their dreams and aspirations, dreams that are fuelled by the same images as ours thanks to the communication revolutions that has put a TV screen in the tiniest of shanties. Set top boxes are being sold faster than anything else in urban slums today.

Half baked education is dangerous as it can lead to dramatic misinterpretations, and as in the case of nanhe's mom, logic and reasoning are useless weapons to counter that. Third rate education, the kind where 33% get you the coveted certificate only leads to frustration and anger waiting to manifest itself.

We are witness to many micro solutions whereby help pours in when an individual case is reported. But here again we need to retrospect about the reason for such outpour. As long as it stems out of charity, compassion and sympathy it will always fall short.

Something much deeper and radical needs to be done, something that lives beyond the images that splash the screens. Something that actually needs to change us before we attempt to change the world.