Sunday, July 12, 2009

Slumdogs all around the place

I like that movie, slumdog millionaire, not for its acting, cinematography or its poignant story touching on the many of the horrible truth of indian life, but for the fact that it exposed that truth to the international audience; the fact that it showed people just how horrific some peoples lives are on this planet earth in this country, and also because it showed with a sort of passiveness that is also just as much part of reality in India as anything else. It is very true indeed - people in India, hundreds of millions in fact, live some of the most despeciable and horrific and tragic lives that one can see on this planet. Beggars, the one diaspora that the film focused on, is probably the most interesting one. In no country have I seen begging being performed, promoted and practised relentlessly as in India; by crude estimates, and likely close to reality, there are about anywhere from half a million to a million of these hungry people. They truly come in all shapes and sizes - old widows, young runaways, teen girls bought by begging mafia, able bodied men, kidnapped children, but the ones that seem to attract the most attention, both socially and economically, are the handicaps - people who voluntariy, and less frequently by force, choose to have one or multiple limbs severed or blinded to attract more attention, pity, and thus money, "maimed" as they call it in their business. I personally like to go "fishing" for these, even to the point where Ill ignore the ones with just one severance; someone with one stub comes to my car window, and I blindly turn them away as something too usual; the ones that get the money out of me (usually 2-5 rupees or nickels and dimes) are the severely disadvantaged one, blind, missing 2-3 limbs, I mean so ridiculousy handicapped you almost want to shoot the person dead as a favor. Now I know this sounds disgustingly callous and morally perverted to the nth degree, but thats what living in India is about. Its about accepting the fact that life is sometimes just very, very horrible, a never ending saga of pain and helplessness, i.e. for some unfortunate souls. But you become accustomed to it, as theres too many of these pathetic souls that have been around for too long, and they are not going away. Yes it sounds like a harsh truth, but it is so. Now thats a truly Indian concept of how life works that Im proud I have learnt and myself practiced. Its not as in western cultures where people are hungry for a hedonistic way of life, everything must be satisfying and must be done in their way of doing. Yes the westerners and the anglo-saxons are compassionate and helping, but in India you realize after seeing hundreds and hundreds of people in absolute misery that maybe its just best to let them be; its like a person loosing millions in a vegas casino; yes its very tragic but you get used to it as a happening of daily life. So anyways as I was saying that I particularly like to observe these handicapped beggars, and there was one near the New Delhi Railway Station that Ill never forget. This person was most likely the most desperate, destitute soul I have personally seen on this planet. He had one leg and arm chopped off till the hip and shoulder joints, and the other pair were stubs covered at the end with flies swarming over flesh wounds, most likely indicating he was a freshman. He was busy balancing himself just trying to sit and stay on his rag he had laid on the floor like one of those novelty items people have on their business desks depicting a bird balanced on its beak - you can nudge it all you want, but the bird stays on its beak and fails to fall. Now that is an analogy Ill never in my life forget, in fact no one probably can; to see a person trying to balance himself on his maimed stubs of limbs, and all for probably about $2-3 dollars a day. Thats Life. Thats Life in India. And so it is for millions and millions...

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