Thursday, January 21, 2010

Tattered spirits

Joke is fine, but life is not a joke, said actor Sunjay Dutt once. Yes, no humour in this post.
Outside our flat in Chennai was a huge garbage bin, with trash all around except inside it, thanks to residents’ “wonderful” civic sense.
I came out of my house along with my wife and instantly glanced at this man sitting on a heap of garbage. He must be merely in his 20s, did not wear any shirt and bore a hungry look. He had a stale bread in his hand and his eyes stared blankly at me. The pants were torn; the hairs messy. Let me not say more. You can surmise.
My impulse struck. I checked my pocket and picked a Rs10 note spontaneously. There was no emotion in him when I offered it. It was just like a piece of dead paper.
I moved on.
Two days later, when I came down from my third floor flat, there was a crowd near the bin.
There’s a small temple across the road managed by an old woman.
“He is dead. We informed the corporation and they just picked his body up. I tried to give water but it was too late,” the woman told me in a sad tone.
Dead? Body picked up?
Is it not the duty of corporations and politicians to pick humans alive and protect them instead of waiting for them to die and send their bodies for research?
“If one man goes to bed without food, let’s burn this earth,” the powerful words of Tamil poet Bharathi reverberated in my ears.
“I have let you down brother,” I told myself.
The tear that dropped when I recollected the incident while in the bathroom yesterday is a tribute to that unknown soul.


  1. So touching. There are many misguided youngsters who become addicts and ultimately end up like this. This incident reminded me of a similar case from my city long back (early 90's), one of may friend had narrated similar case then and we all felt very sad at the waste of human life in this way, very sad

  2. such a sad thing to happen to anybody..the guy must have suffered so much na..I can't even spend an hour when I am really hungry..and dying of hunger - can't imagine this at all...may his soul rest in peace..

  3. What a cruel world we are living in. I agree with the Tamil poet.
    There are one billion people go hungry each day, 65 percent of them in just seven countries: India, China, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Ethiopia and Congo, reported the UN food agency ( ). “For millions of people in developing countries, eating the minimum amount of food every day to live an active and healthy life is a distant dream”, said FAO’ Assistant Director-General Hafez Ghanem.


  5. It is very unfortunate,but that is the reality even after 62 yrs of independence.
    You can imagine the condition of such poor in Delhi where the temp have been as low as 6c

  6. I will not say much here. Lets make a pledge.. not for anyone but to keep it to ourselves, lets be just human. We forget to be that many times. I am sure many things will fall in place. Lets try our level best to keep that compassion in our heart so that we can help to our level best and never ever regret for any such incident.

  7. It is painful that we as a society have yet to wake up to recognize the gravity of these youth related issues. Hats off to you that you tried. Most people dont care till its over and this indifference triggers more incidents, especially in teens and youths. The figures are appalling.

  8. I see many men lying on the roadside and it has become so natural for us to assume that they are drunk and we need not waste our time to check them up. Some of them might be lying down because of starvation also. I feel guilty for this attitude, often. But do not have the guts to go and help them.

  9. that was sad ,,,it really leaves to speechless with a heavy heart ..appreciate what you did when you could ..

  10. Very sad ...well i do try to help if i see something like this and encourage my kids too ,but there are a lot many like them.If only we had honest,sincere and dedicated politicians...

  11. You said he was young. Was he healthy ?
    If yes , then why was he sitting here ? Couldnt he get some job..any job to feed himself ?

    It definitely is not the corporation's duty to provide for any beggar on the street.
    Any healthy young man should find ways to feed and clothe himself and not wait for any government intervention.

    In a county like India , its just not possible..

  12. Very pathetic to see those people without any shelter, it should be erradicated.

  13. This is really a heart breaking story. India is planning to land on moon, but people are dying like hell !!!

  14. sad. The irony is we are too busy in our own lives and thus forget the existence of ppl who arent as blessed as us, until we have to go thru the same circumstance at some point of our lives..

  15. Dear Sir, Excellent write up.I am reading through your posts. I am also learning to look into lighter side of life as most of the posts of yours are really holding a light into unseen, not spoken angles of life.I have already subscribed to your posts.Good to know that you live in Sharjah.My husband lives in Dubai and we family hoping to join him soon.