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Floods render many homeless (and this not in India, but England)
Hungry families, bare cupboards (and this is not Africa or Asia, but middle class USA)

For the first time in (my) memory, the Western World is facing the hardship and deprivation that we (in India) see on a daily basis. The trouble is well hidden behind white picket fences and lush hedges. But behind the middle class symbols lurks startling poverty. Blame it on inflation, immigration, lack of jobs or a low daily wage. The truth is that education is no longer a guarantee for a secure future.

The American government even has a new term for this : food insecurity.

It’s not an easy scene to watch, or read about. Living in India has hardened me to the sight of pot bellied kids begging at traffic lights with their mothers beating or pinching them to make them cry. It is easier to ignore that, turn one’s head away and get on with your life. In India, poverty is in-your-face, a constant reminder of how a big chunk of the population lives.

I’m watching this US hunger story with interest. Simply because it reminds me of a soup-kitchen a friend started in Khar to feed hungry kids. With a slum (or three) at the doorstep, there are not many takers. Poverty may be an issue, but most slum-dwellers (in Khar at least!) have enough to feed their kids.

Maybe we (in India) need to look beyond the symbols of poverty and acknowledge what the West is just awakening to: Just because someone lives in a ‘proper’ house it does not mean that he is not deprived. And living in a slum does not mean that you don’t have enough to get by.

Simplistic, I know. Am trying to make sense of it myself.


One comment on “Topsy-Turvy

  1. Reality check indeed!

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