I often borrow the title of the famous Neruda poem
: I'm explaining a few things, to share my thoughts when things need to be explained. Today the need arose because of the comments
on FB to my last post
. The post was prompted by an incident that happened in Pune,
where a child who sold balloons was thrown out of Mc Donald's simply because he was poor. Never mind that he was accompanied by one who was 'rich'. I had recalled the visit of some of our kids to a Mc D's and the fact that they were well treated. The Pune incident simply validated my theory of the 2 Indias. Had our kids been treated like this, I would have brought the roof down!
The comments of course pertained to the wisdom of taking our kids to a such a place. Let me say unequivocally that I am against it for all the reasons stated in the comments and many more. But on the other hand I will not accept that a child be denied entry into any place because of his or her being poor.
Now, if you have read the comments, you will see that the choice was made by some of the teachers in spite of our lovely supporter who would have preferred taking them to a local eatery where they would have got real and not plastic food. It is difficult for many to comprehend this. Let me tell you it took me a long time to do so. I will try and explain it to the best of my ability.
As you may be knowing, all project why staff comes from underprivileged homes. Many of them would have remained in their homes, cleaning other people's homes had we not landed in their street one fateful day.
Over the years I have seen many of them slowly and sometimes imperceptibly climb the social ladder. It could be seen in their dressing, in their acquiring new gadgets, in their desire to question and so on. It could also be seen in their falling prey to the seduction of commercials on TV that made them feel empowered should they follow them. They became house proud, often so proud that you would have all lights on and two TV sets running even if a room was empty. It was a sense of having reached!
The game spoiler and party pooper was me and my ilk who talked endlessly of saving energy, not using plastic bags, not wasting water, not eating all the foods endorsed on the box by their favourite Bollywood stars. I soon realised that there was almost a sense of bewildered resentment as these were things they had just begun to enjoy, things we had enjoyed before we realised their true value. Mc D's is one of the most prominent commercial.
Now I am a true tartar when it comes to these matters and no one would dare suggest taking the kids to Mc D's but when they see a tiny window of opportunity then they jump at it.
I guess it will take time for them to understand things and we need to tread slowly. It takes a generation for a migrant to come to a city and be in a position to acquire things. A generation of hard work, of living in abysmal conditions, of barely surviving before being able to enjoy the fruit of their labour.
They will learn. We just need to give them time.
But once again, whether Mc D is good for you or not, it cannot deny entry to anyone based on his or her social status.