Yet another year slips away. It was the last calendar year when I could fool myself as being just a kid! I will find myself on the wrong side of 25 when this new year draws to a close. hmm...dreadful! Anyway this year I fed the kid in me by rereading all the Harry Potter books twice! I even read fan versions of the seventh book! I'm half way through Anne Frank's diary now. Thats apart from watching some exceptional movies on kids like 'Children of Heaven', 'The Return' and 'Butterfly'.
And hence its all the more difficult to digest the horror unfolding in Noida. How can so many kids be fed to those monsters? How on earth are we returning the skeletal remains of children in a sack to their parents? What was the police doing with those several dozen 'missing' cases? For a month now, school kids are keeping candle light vigil close to my office for a boy who died in an accident. Beverly Drive is full of News crews. The trees on my street bear moving requests from families seeking help to find their lost dogs. Can India be more third world?
Having produced more kids than any other country in the last few decades, is India taking care of its children? Child labor, malnutrition, school dropouts, Polio, HIV at birth, Child abuse... This country owes its younger citizens much better than this. Every single auto-rickshaw in Tamilnadu which bore Memoriam for the Kumbakonam school kids and the Tsunami orphanages in Nagapattinum tell us that some people do care. If only we all did.
I had a friend in middle school who ran away from home. His father wanted to give him good education however expensive it was. I ran one day to my teacher's home to tell him that his prodigal student was spotted on the school ground. The teacher didn't care. The last time I met my friend, he was earning some 30 rupees a day.
There was small boy whom I used to tutor so that he could pass through UKG. His parents in Andhra for reasons best known to them had left their kid at his Uncle's place to study in a Tamilnadu school?!! I added to his miseries by hitting him a few times frustrated at how little he could remember. But when he waved goodbyes to his visiting father, I have shared in his tears. The last time I met him, the teenager called me 'uncle'. hmm...so much for the kid in me.
Happy New Year. Imagine being among the last few millions to celebrate the New year. Thats me signing off here in Pacific Time!