Friday, April 08, 2005

Biscuits laced with formic acid...

The magnitude of poverty in India moves me. I, along with my wife, have a coffee at Barista every morning before I drop her off at the place where her office car picks her up from . It's our daily routine -- we have to have a coffee regardless of whether we value each other more than all the gold in ancient India on a particular day or whether we hate each other's guts. Anyway, our favourite coffee shop is located in one of the bylanes of Koregaon Park which I keep raving about all the time. There is a sprawling lawn outside the cafe, and a neat row of studio apartments on the side of the lawn. The place is called Sunderban Hotel. They have many employees whose duty is to keep the place clean.

This morning we watched a couple of people sweeping dried leaves off the parking lot. Someone had left a half eaten packet of biscuits there. These people picked it up, looked around to make sure nobody was watching, removed the ants from the biscuits and ate them.

My heart drops down to the pit of my stomach when I think of them. I would love for India to be a developed country where the poor people also have decent clothes to wear and at least two square meals a day, but that is not to be. India is not like that right now, and will never be.


At 9:06 PM, Anonymous munna said...

an ending to provoke responses :)

is it theoretically possible that everyone in india has "decent" clothes and "decent" food? clearly yes because the average food/clothing consumption of india + US is decent. so you dont even need to produce more, simply redistribute.

what to do about it? there are tens of things including changing ones perspective to see poverty as a business problem to be solved.

but i am in no position to dish out fundaes because i am a consumption driven bastard who dreams of $1000 a pop lunches at the french laundry and who makes "but now is not the time" excuses.

lekin poora hai vishwaas
hum honge kamyaab ek din

At 11:51 PM, Blogger Anurag said...

munna: the ending to my post was not to provoke responses. after years and years of hope and optimism i now stand defeated by the system -- i truly believe there is no hope for this country. i will do whatever i can in my local sphere of influence, but i don't expect the larger picture to change. sigh.

At 2:32 AM, Blogger Elf said...

poverty is a relative thing...don't you think?

At 6:50 AM, Anonymous munna said...

everything is relative. its relative to you. what you percieve as poverty depends on how much you empathize with the people. i don't think that a homeless american with tons of clothes, shoes, and a pot belly is poor but lots of others do.

anyway elf what did you want to say?
its relative, so?

At 8:02 AM, Blogger Mint Chutney said...

Munna: in your response, the degree of poverty is relative. That American who has only the clothes on his back and all his possessions (which we may only see as junk) in a cart is still poor.

At 10:31 AM, Anonymous munna said...

mint: did not understand your response. when i say relative i mean that the "amount" of poverty is defined by the observer.
so i dont define the homeless guy as poor because i can neither empathize with him nor feel sympathy for him.

unless i did not understand you, your statements are contradictory. poverty is relative but the guy is still poor in an absolute way?

At 10:43 PM, Blogger Anurag said...

elf: the level of poverty is relative, in my opinion. what do you think?

munna: i think you supported elf's statement through yours. what elf was trying to say was that some people may feel sorry for a particular person but others may not. which is what you said too -- you don't empathise with a poor american, whereas americans may.

mint C: i agree with you. being in india, a homeless person in usa with a cart containing all his belongings seems to be not too badly off. but when i was in usa, i felt really sorry for such people.

At 4:10 AM, Blogger Elf said...

I typed out a comment a ling comment just now, but it din't appear:(
Anyway the gist of it was that,
folks should atleast get two square meals a day.

At 10:49 AM, Blogger Satya said...

koregaon rocks !!

At 11:53 PM, Blogger Manish Bhatt said...

Someday, I'm gonna do sumthing about it. I swear.

At 11:32 PM, Blogger Jugular Bean said...

It's not just India, it's all over the world, and it's gonna be that way and it's gonna get worse, the way the current capitalistic economy is shaping up!

SOCIALISM IS THE WAY TO GO....but no one listens!

At 12:48 AM, Blogger Tan said...

It's a sad story, but that's my fav barista in Pune. Visit that one everytime. Love the serenity of the place!


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