In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Think Global, Act Local.”
It’s impossible to miss it in Mumbai. It’s hard when children who live on the street tug at your sleeve, or just appear out of nowhere and are tapping the window of your taxi and you look up to see a schoolager holding a toddler in her arms. Or that senior who gives you the universal gesture for food (tips of the fingers touching each other as you gesture your hand to your mouth).
You know, when I was staying in an area closer to where I work, I used to almost step over a woman on my walk to work in the morning. Literally side step around her. The sidewalks are not wide enough on most streets and most people walk on the road as the sidewalks are often crowded. She slept stretched out on the sidewalk nightly.
It’s also hard when you take the same route home from work everyday and there he is … same place same time walking across congested Mumbai streets tapping every window he can before the traffic light changes, hoping he can get a few rupees. Standing on the median at the stoplight is another man holding a cane-left arm stops where ones’ elbow should be. He’s just watching the cars. He must be tired in this heat. I want to give him the fruit I have in my bag. Or give it to the guy I pass on my way home from the grocery store. But I stop myself…most times.
Sometimes I make it home and the window of the taxi hasn’t been tapped at all.
I struggle with whether or not I should give, and how much I should give. I’m not even phased by the idea that some people on the streets in India make more than people who work at some menial jobs. At least that’s what I’ve been told. I don’t know how real that is, but it doesn’t matter to me, they don’t have a roof over their head and whatever they get from begging can’t afford them one either.
I don’t want to talk about the politics of the matter…I don’t like politics and my brain will hurt too much. Anyway, if you’ve heard anything about politics in India, even if only 25% of it is true, your brain will explode! I want to talk about what I see day in day out as I live and work as a foreigner in Mumbai.
So I give. Not as often as I’d like, cause I’m still struggling with this issue. It is incredible to see poverty in so many forms. When I’m people watching on the drive to work and I see the impact of poverty- stunted growth in children and adults, I don’t know…I don’t know.
So I have to give. Actually, I don’t ‘have’ to, really. I am compelled to. I have minimal needs and someone else has major needs. I have enough so that I can give. So I will.
As I write this last line, I think my struggle is over. This prompt was a blessing in disguise.