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Peering at the world through a straw : Part II

Posted by Unknown Tuesday, 8 January 2013 0 comments
Peering at the world through a straw : Part I

It was 3:00 in the afternoon when he reached his destination, a large auditorium where an exhibition was being organised. ‘Different Strokes’ was the name of the event, a cogent and powerful caption for an event organised for the exhibition of paintings of artists from all over the nation. A number of painters, media-persons and admirers, some claiming to have a deep insight into the psyche of painters, had thronged the event. Guffaws and applause reverberated in the auditorium as the guests admired the art work of various talented painters. While some found a reflection of their life in the paintings, many others failed to draw a parallel between the portrait and the present or past, for that matter. The centre of attraction of the event was the portrait of an impoverished, emaciated child who had been snapped in the memory of the painter and carved out on the canvass. The painting depicted the perils of poverty on the society and the poor child was perhaps a torch bearer of a similar agenda to curb this menace.

 “I feel apologetic for the insult to his dignity”, an admirer, who looked more like a social activist, lamented.
“His dreams seem to have been vandalised”, a media-person exclaimed with remorse.
“The administration is responsible for his pathetic condition and the destruction of his desires”, a fellow painter, who had perhaps entered the winter of his life, asserted. It seems that even at that age, he supported the obsolete notion of holding the authority responsible for all good and bad, just by casting a vote in its favour.

As human pain oozed out of the portrait of the physically and emotionally shattered child, handkerchief, once again became a constant companion.

The gentleman who had rebuked the peddler on his way felt ashamed of himself as he took out a handkerchief out of his pocket to wipe of the tears that had expelled out of his liquid eyes.
Sardonically, one may take pride in spending a huge sum on purchasing a portrait depicting a poor, malnourished child but hesitate to quench the thirst or satisfy the hunger of the same when needed.

Indeed, it is high time we change the lens, we view the dark edge of the world with. The need of the hour is to stop peering at the world with a straw. In this mad race of competing with the world in terms of technological and economic power, we have failed to take cognisance of those who have failed to catapult themselves to this level. Poverty is both a social and political malaise. Technological advancement and economic prosperity are the brighter aspects of our achievements. But the other side of the coin represents and excruciatingly painful truth that we are still struggling to bridge the divide between the haves and the have-nots. We still have a long way to go. Let us lend our hands to those who have failed to accommodate and align themselves with our idea of development.

 *The idea of this story is not to promote begging. This is merely a reminder of what we have actually achieved in the name of poverty alleviation and spending extravagantly on a painting that depicts poverty instead of helping the poor is only an example of how we end up accusing others for this menace rather than making a contribution at our end.


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