For the past week I have been moving around Patna by rickshaws. The chill in the air has steadily increased. I always ask the rickshaw pullers how they manage to survive the winter. Earlier they used to speak about sleeping under the flyovers or near the ATMs. Lately, there is an awkward silence that follows my question. It is almost as if they are dredging their souls to come up with an honest answer.
Gareeb hain sahab..... they murmur pensively. The older ones clam shut. This might be that one winter where the frost will finally snuff out their little remaining life of strife and struggle.
I called the district magistrate on his landline. I then went on to speak to the most insensitive arse hole I have had an occasion to speak to. I told him that the homeless are going to drop dead any day now. I asked him to inform the magistrate that blankets need to be issued on priority and firewood supplied for bonfires. He asked me to write an application and submit. He said that blankets will be given once the National Disaster Management guys have supplied them.
Sir...the poor are about to die. Sir......
My fellow readers, please remember that your country is full of incredibly poor people and their plight rarely gets heard among us. We are busy talking about Khobragade and her cavity search. Try in your own little ways to change the conversation.
Blankets and firewood is cheaper than digging graves and paying pandits.