All my life I have lived in Delhi. It has been home to me since birth. So, naturally, the trashy, crowded, jammed streets of the city and the numerous people who are forced to spend their lives starving on these streets have become commonplace for me. But this one thing that happened yesterday made me realize to what extent I was neglecting everything around me. This one small incident changed the way I think in just a matter of seconds and lead me here, to writing this article at this particular moment.
So, yesterday on my way back home from school, I was eating the food that my mom had given me for lunch. I wasn’t really hungry and the aloo gajar ki sabji and roti wasn’t exactly very appealing, but afraid that my mother would scold me for not having eaten anything the whole day long, I felt that I had no option but to eat it. The car stopped at a red light at an intersection. The stop was about two to three minutes long. As I sat there in the car, eating, a young girl about the age of seven, or eight maybe, came to my car window asking for food. I thought I should give my food to her but I couldn’t get myself to do the work. I have always had that mentality that most of us Delhites do – ‘Do not give anything to the beggars for your own safety!’ I kept thinking over and over again should I? Or should I not? And once the driver had revved the engine and my opportunity to do any good deed was gone I realized I should have.
I felt so sick of myself! I would rather force myself to eat something than give the food to someone who was actually hungry! I realized that I am one of the worst kinds of people; the ones who pretend to be good. So many millions of people go to sleep with an aching, empty stomach on the hard and cold footpaths of India, every day, and I just go on living the spoiled, luxurious life that I am living. I was angry at myself for doing what I did. I was angry at the society for giving me this sick ideology. I was angry at everyone living a satisfied life in this world because everyone else was living a life that belongs in garbage.
The hatred and anger that I felt was totally irrational but it taught me a very valuable lesson; it made me realize that I have to change myself. I know that being the person that I am I couldn’t ever change my way of living but what I can change is some tiny little habits. I could at least give the food that I do not want to eat to someone who needs it way more than me. And not just me, each one of us can. It is with the cooperation of all of us that the quality of life of Indians in general could be improved.
So, to conclude, I am not saying that everyone should start giving away their lunch to the poor. People are denied the opportunity to live a happy life in numerous ways. You can start by paying equal respect to everyone. You can start by not wasting food perhaps. And if you have already started helping in improving the lives of others around you, you could encourage more people to do so too. Together, we could make India a better, happier place for ourselves and everyone else.