An invitation card for a upmarket promotional do, landed on my desk yesterday. I do not know why such cards come my way! And as always it made me wince. The card looked like a cigar box and was made of outrageously expensive paper. Open the box and in lieu of cigars, you find a card nestled at the bottom soliciting your presence to yet another extravaganza with not only imported food and wine, but imported entertainment.
L, a volunteer, was sitting there and after looking at the card simply said: wonder how many children could be fed with the price of this one card. Strange that she should have mentioned this, as the previous day a TV channel had aired a report about malnutrition in India. The figures was startling, shocking and made one hand one's head hang in shame: in Madhya Pradesh alone 83 children die of malnutrition every day, and that is just one state of India. And this while surplus grain worth millions rots in what is known as the granary of India.
The amount of extravagantly priced cards that come my way is staggering. I have figured out why I, the proverbial recluse, am on their mailing lists: courtesy the husband's upmarket club affiliations! PR agencies get hold of club directories and voila! Cards are printed by the zillions and couriered (no post please) and you find yourself invited to dos galore, opening of bedroom and bathroom furniture showrooms, jewellery exhibitions and more of the same. The cards often land unopened in the trashcan! I was tickled pink by a recent ad of a mobile phone company that urged everyone to save trees and use SMSses to communicate everything! Come to think of it it could be cheaper and one had the luxury of the DND (do not disturb) option. With the courier man you are subjected to the door bell ring at all hours of the day, and they have an uncanny habit of coming when you are taking forty winks or have just stepped into your bath. Blessed were the days of the postman: he only rang the bell twice a day!
But bantering apart, time has come for all of us to stop wearing blinkers and start looking at the harsh reality that surrounds us, and not just look but ask ourselves some disturbing questions. The first one is whether we can carry on the way we do without batting an eyelid as if all was well? If the answer is yes then sorry I disturbed you; if the answer is a no even a hesitant one, then comes the next question: how responsible we are and what can we do? My answer was pwhy. A tiny drop in the ocean but nevertheless a beginning.
There are many things around us that should upset if not abhor us. The little child who knocks at your car window every day without fail and who should actually be in school as says the Constitution. The obscene amount of food thrown on the street after religious feeding sprees or outrageous marriages, the mounds of plastic choking every part of the city, the unnecessary breaking and remaking of perfectly sound pavement and roads that remind us of children playing construction games but they do not waste tax payer's money. And this is just what we see. Open the newspaper or turn on the box and the nightmare continues. Kangaroo courts that decide whether you should live or die, children sold and abused. Many of us express our shock or concern from the comfort of an armchair and then simply procrastinate. Many of us rant and rave a bit while getting ready for the next do one is invited to and then simply forget till the next aberration. Some simply feel it is not our problem as there if a government that is meant to solve all that is not right smug in the comfort that we did our civic duty by casting our vote.
It is time we took a step further and made our voices heard, not just for the page 3 cases needing justice, when we are quick to light candles and stand vigil, but for every single child dying of hunger every 8.7804 minute, one who has no voice and above all no vote.