After an unpleasant conversation which could hardly be termed as a conversation, early in the morning with a random man at the Jaipur junction after dropping my darling mother, I sat in the auto speeding through the open roads. I have rarely been on the roads at six in the morning. It has either been the hospital or my hostel. Needless to say, Jaipur is and will be a very pretty city.
But while on the road, I counted a minimum of five people happily giving into the call of nature in complete public view. This is not a very uncommon site while exiting from the railway stations in most cities. But somehow one thinks that the main arterial roads of the capital of Rajasthan would have been spared. Once I unfortunately started paying attention, I realized the primary population on the roads were the homeless. Every shape, size and colour. Walking aimlessly in whichever direction they fancied today. I felt guilty. For wearing clean clothes. For being fussy about the amount of salt in my hostel mess. For being upset because I couldn’t find the required chudidaar I needed to exactly match my kurta. What have I done differently that I am on the other side of the fence? Being in government health services, and mostly in close contact with the rural population, I know that most of them are victims of their circumstances. The ones on the road often spiral downhill by squandering whatever money they earn by begging or selling scraps, on cheap alcohol or drugs which are easily available on the roads. But then, it is easy to judge when we have a roof on our heads and a head full of sensible advice and education. Who is to say what we would have done if god forbid, we were born to the emaciated 16 year old girl in rags on the corner of the road.
My mood started going south when I realized there was a long line of the homeless sitting at the side of the road, all with smiles on their faces and chatting and munching. Upon following that line, I realized it started with two men on the side of the road with two boxes who were distributing kachoris( Fried local snack) and tea to the party. I would have loved to get off and ask them what motivated them to do this but my auto driver didn’t seem too keen on stopping anywhere other than the destination. But witnessing this simple act of kindness early in the morning made my day. There are many such people who carry out simple acts of kindness for the less fortunate. Everybody doesn’t need to get a Nobel peace prize or come on the front page. But if one tummy was filled today morning because of which someone didn’t reach for the extra bottle of cheap liquor, it’s a day well started.