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I recently came back from a vacation in India and wanted to write something about my trip. Remembered the little skinny village boy and his father, traveling in Hyderabad (fifth largest city in southern India with a population close to six million) in a 'mini taxi'. The picture is very vivid in my mind. This kid, aged around 5 years, was excited and overwhelmed. He was tired and there was a vague sense of insecurity, evident from the way he was clasping his ?pa's? hand and leaning on his thigh. His father looked like a poor farmer or labourer with a deep concern clearly writ on his face. Could it be that of an ailing wife or next of kin that he brought along to this vast city for medical treatment? He was wearing thick leather sandals with open toes, typically made by the local cobbler of heavy material and nails almost rusting. His white loin cloth, wound around his waist was just short of reaching his cracked knees, and his crumpled white shirt was pale with streaks of dirt, perhaps from the the heavy dust emitted by the numerous motor vehicles. The kid himself wasn?t wearing any footwear, a sure sign that his dad was left with no money for such luxuries. Maybe, it?s the first time for the little lad to venture out into the outside world and to learn a lesson that there were other things in the world that hurt more than the malicious thorns that would interrupt his play in the village back yard.


The rikshaw was moving at an enormous speed, a pace so great that they wish life would go at, so that the miseries of this mysterious world would end sooner than they seem to be. The outside scenery was moving rapidly in the reverse direction and wheeled vehicles of all sizes going in all directions. A little too much of activity beyond the comprehension of a five year old. The seemingly supersonic pace dulled his mind and lulled him to sleep. Leaning on his pa's thigh, the kid fell fast asleep . Remembering the puzzling and terrifying look on his face when I tried to smile at him, I wondered if his little dreams were affected too the way he has been.


Still lost in his own thoughts, which now went beyond my imagination, the kid's dad looked helpless and exhausted. If he was a child with his own pa around he would be dozing off too, just the same way. But, the feeling of responsibility is hanging high in front of him and the look indicated that there was no place for illusions. If only he could do something to alleviate the situation and bring it back to normalcy.....this world is full of "if's" and "buts".


Traveling with this not so 'odd couple' of father and son, I began to feel equally despondent. It's a reality that there are millions of people around us, right under our nose, silently suffering, nobody to complain to and perhaps not knowing what to complain about. On the other hand, I was right there spending my dollars and worrying how much of money would be sufficient for me to return back. The journey continued and the driver announced our arrival at the railway station halting the train of my thoughts. Not having enough guts to enquire about their well being and too embarrassed to pay their fare, I descended from the taxi and entered the sea of humanity that gladly took everyone into its folds. My helplessness and lack of clarity is like theirs. As long as we hesitate to take that bold step, we will be miserable not knowing what to do and yet can't help worrying about it. However hard I try, I cannot forget the company of these two beings that are still there outside, somewhere!


------
Venkatesh


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The following comments are for "The little kid that came from the village?"
by venkatesh

Vivid and moving
I'm seriously impressed by this piece. It is a truly vivid account of your journey, and stunning in it's observation and detail. Somehow you've managed to take an uneventful journey where nothing happened, and craft a beautiful piece of writing around it.
A definite candidate for the coveted Spudley seal of approval. :-) Score 10/10.

( Posted by: Spudley [Member] On: March 22, 2003 )





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