Everyday in our work, we meet examples of how the societal prejudices rule the minds and actions of people. From a few who tell us point blank that the street children are a lost cause to others who come up and tell us how wonderful we are to be hugging children they would not even walk near to yet others who ask us what we are doing about the morals that are so lacking in the children; the insensitivity is in many cases, almost an oppressive feeling that begins to bring the spirits down into cynicism. But at the beginning of Street Smart, Shaila had passed a no-flinch rule. She said that no matter what we unearth about the street children as we work with them, we will not step back from the work. Now, more than 7 weeks later I have resolved to adopt the no-flinch rule with the affluent people since they are the ones who have the flinch-worthy traits!
So I am not flinching when a man comes up to me and says he will donate rupees 25000 if I guide his very artistic little nephew into being an artist but adds adamantly that he wont have his nephew sitting down with the rag pickers and beggars. I am not flinching when people come forward and say the children should be asked to come to school clean and well-dressed, even though it shows their inability to apply their minds when they expect that street kids will have access to water or bath facility. I am especially not flinching when people come in with ideas of “You must”s and “You should”s though I swear by all that is holy it does make me want to b****-slap somebody!
See our kids are a victim of circumstances but the affluent sections of our society are victims of choices. So as Street Smart grows, I may just have identified what is to me, the real disease- indifference and the real patients- the have’s!