Sunday, October 05, 2008

Post 420 : Dananajay (The son of a flower seller)

My mum had a Puja at her place today. Wifey and I gone there under the pretext of helping.

The flower seller who provided flowers for the Puja is from Chennai. It was natural that my mom has got friendly with her over the past few weeks. She has been in Bombay for potentially less than 3 months.

She has a son, Dananajay (more soon about the unusual spelling).

His father was a drunkard. The mother left him 3 months ago and came to Bombay to make a living. She took up a slum house (road facing) which functions as both as a home and a shop-front to sell her flower collection.

She paid Rs.45k to the local slumlord. She added the slum lord is benevolent, he has thrown in a free electricity "connection" (a monthly hafta for this service exists - more like a subscription charge..... since bills don't exist, its all pilfered power).

She had come home today after the Puja to help my mom clean up. (As I said before, we had gone only on the pretext of helping :-))

She had gotten her son along. Her son is all but 4. He goes to a English Medium School. He can understand Hindi, Tamil and English and speak all 3.

He can spell most of the common words, he can read them by alphabets (for example, he read M U S I C, but could not pronounce it).

My wife and mom spent quite some time with him, while his mom helped with cleaning. My mom had gotten him 2 new pairs of dresses, and in addition, she gifted him a new music keyboard, one I had originally got as a gift for someone's kid, but never came close to handing over.

His joy was out of limits. The clothes cost my mom, less than Rs.200 and the keyboard, less than Rs. 300. In total no more than Rs.400.

I spent Rs. 800 between wifey and me for the movie experience yesterday. I did not even realize its value. Neither was the experience it delivered anywhere close to what I call as "joy".

When we asked him to spell his name, he did it perfectly, D A N A N A J A Y, its just that the spelling itself was unusual, but we confirmed and it was correct.

This child seems to be a regular, intelligent child, who has a drunkard (absent) father, and a lady who slogs 12 hours a day so that he can go to school. He has no special books, toys, doctors, creche, crib, training.....I wonder would he have been different, if he had access to any special items (that cost money)....say had he been my child?

I felt sad, melancholic and a lump in my throat. I could not help contrast "my child" versus Dananajay. If ever there was proof that life does not offer everyone equal and fair chances, here it was being played live in front of me.

I don't have a child of my own, but know enough colleagues/friends who shriek(flee in terror) when they realize that their child wont manage to go to the 75k/annum school "today" in a Honda City, since their car is out of service. They beg and take a "car loan" from someone who can spare, so that the driver can drop the child in the next best car. I know colleagues who spent 17k for buying their son a violin, so that he can become trained in music.

I do not get the joke yet, and I often wonder about this obsession with "my" child. People tell me, "we will wait to see your reaction when you have one". Maybe I will be a obsessed bastard as well. Till then.... On the other hand, maybe I am dysfunctional. I am not attached to too many things at all. Almost all my connections are functional and stop at that point. Maybe, the emotional/"attachmate" thingy in my did not ever develop as a kid at all. I find the word "my" always very difficult to use. You will hardly ever hear me say "my" wife, ",my" house (I mean from a belonging or an ownership or an ego sense, I still say my car, but not "my", it will really matter very little to me, if it gets stolen tomorrow)- and if you do hear me saying that from an "ego" sense, remember, I felt quite queasy saying that. My problem is, I look at all these things are too temporary. I somehow instrinsically believe the car(an example) will not be around tomorrow. Either it will be sold, or stolen, or maybe I cannot afford it anymore.

I don't know, don't have an answer to this dysfunctional side of me....It irritates the hell out of my mom, wife and hazaar friends. But, what I do know is, as of today, the flower seller and the son, both are the real heroes in my eyes. Theirs will definitely be one of the images that will flash by me in the instant of my death. Today, I have had the honor of seeing in person God's very own little soldier. Be on the lookout, he spells himself as Dananajay.

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Ousizch said...

[Amitabh iyer]. Your blog is very nice with good content about Post 420 : Dananajay
Stayed to built a blog that was useful for visitor and always thought to publish content that was great. Heeee, just support you…………………

Hope u have a great day!

From: Ousizch

Gotta Be Max said...

Hey Amitabh,

This post couldn't have come for me at a better time. As a confused Republican [US] sympathizer, I was arguing with a friend [Democrat US]about the perils of socialism vis-a-vis the need for free market economies. Not exactly related, and yet, similar in more ways than one.

I guess life is not fair and had this child been better off, would have done well for himself. It is great to see that your family had a good influence on his life.

An ex-LEH employee