India was one of, if not the most, exotic place that I’ve ever been in my life. I don’t mean exotic in the sense of beautiful or enchanting. I mean exotic in the sense of being distant, so very different, complex and confusing. We didn’t get to the northern part of India near Tibet, nor did we get to the Taj Mahal or Red Fort (both places I hope to see someday). We spent our time in the slums of three of the big cities learning about human trafficking and what is happening with the Dalits. I’m so glad I was able to go. It was a great learning experience – perhaps the greatest experience in that regard that I shall ever have.
There were beautiful things there. The clothing of the women was so colorful and lovely. The countryside had a stark, well-used beauty to it. The faces of the people – whether young or old – told stories that no imagination could conjure.
There were lovely flowers, too. Today is a picture of one that I shot, but it isn’t really about flowers. It is about the beauty of the children we saw…like fragile flowers just barely coming to life in the sun, so full of color and warmth and laden with possibilities. Their eyes sparkled like the dew as they took in the sights and sounds of the world around them, they delighted in their dogs and friends and in the simplest of toys: an empty can, a stick, a discarded bottle or piece of clothing. They were like the morning flowers that believed that life was yet ahead of them and that each day might bring new delights and joys. They seemed oblivious to their desperate poverty or low status as Dalits. And why shouldn’t they be oblivious to it? They are of equal worth to presidents, kings, princesses and stars.
The problem isn’t with them…it is with us and how we see them. The problem is with those who don’t see these children as the beautiful creation that they are, but who see them as objects to exploit, own and possess. A day of reckoning will come for them – and for the children whose lives become a living hell because of the greed and power of others who should have cared for, loved and protected them. And that’s all of us!
There are literally hundreds of millions of these child flowers growing up all over India. May we all learn to love them!
TRIVIA FOR TODAY: Quicksand consists of a buoyant blend of round granules of light sand, blended with water, or of light soil and gritty mud, or of mud peppered with pebbles. Water injects itself into the grains of any one of these mixtures, which separates and lifts them, causing them to tumble over one another, and rendering them helpless to support weighty objects. Quicksand typically surfaces near the deltas of mighty rivers, or near shores, where a layer of stiff clay below collects and retains the water. Quicksand does not suck unsuspecting victims to their untimely deaths, a theory espoused my most until recently. This nightmarish theory did, however, provide good fodder for a host of low-budget horror films!