The little ragpicker


I was walking home from church on a Sunday

Saw a young boy my brother’s age with his sister

Trying to dispose of whatever salvageable refuse he could collect

I could hear the man collecting the items shouting and abusing

I felt like I should go help the kid. But then I saw another lady, looked like his mother

She was reprimanding him too, seemed to be something about the way he had spoken

Maybe he had a sharp tongue. But I couldn’t help think about how a day in his life would be like

At an age when my brother was going to school, wearing good clothes, learning to play the piano and tabla

This kid mostly spends his days walking around the roads and streets

In his dirty clothes picking up plastic , paper and metal dumped by the accomplished citizens of this glorious nation

Making a pittance probably taken from him by his parents or his handler

I wanted to go stand up for him, but I did not know what was going on

I wanted to go argue on his behalf and defend him

But verbally reprimanding the abusive trash collector and then going on my way- how far would that help?

I wasn’t ready to take in the kid, and help him in a way I would have if it had been my brother

I wasn’t ready to take the responsibility of being accountable for his well-being

how easy it is to talk and debate about high principles and about ways to improve the country

But how infinitely harder it is to get your hands dirty and bring about the changes in society as well as oneself, in line with the high principles that we debate with such pride

They say actions speak louder than words, but we are more than happy being loud, obnoxious and proud voicing our opinions and principles than acting them out.

I need strength to act. I hope I find the strength to act






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