MIDWAY: Poles apart

Our college arranged a Bal Bhojan programme on December 29. We reached the venue near Basantapur at 9am. I could see a shabby building. As we went inside, I saw small rooms and children in tattered clothes. But what was remarkable was that they all seemed to be quite happy and content.

I learnt that these deprived children were fed twice a day by various charitable organisations. The meal was simple dal, bhat and tarkari. I soon started chatting with a boy named Bijay Rai. He didn’t like tarkari so he ate dal-bhat. How these children relished the daal-bhat was quite amazing. Bal Bhojan was within the reach of only those children staying in this particular building. My mind was flooded with questions like: What about the numerous street children who had no shelter or food? How can they improve their future? What has Nepal to offer? Who is responsible for their condition?

In sharp contrast to Bal Bhojan, I had an opportunity to attend a gala at Soaltee Crown Plaza on December 31. Though the ticket was priced at Rs. 5,000 I did not have to buy it as I happened to be a guest. The fabulous lights, decorations, beautiful ladies, their glittering dresses and expensive cars transported me to an entirely different world. When I entered the palatial dinner hall, the cuisine confused me. I could not decide which one to choose from the vast variety — Chinese, Japanese, Italian, Indian, BBQ, among others. People were enjoying themselves — singing, dancing, eating till night and wishing each other Happy New Year 2006.

Within a short span of time I had experienced two different worlds. One dealt with deprived children while the other consisted of wealthy people. I am confused about the different lifestyles people are leading in our country. I wonder at the materialistic world, and compare it to the Marxist theory of haves and haves-nots. Deep down my heart I feel a sense of injustice.

I also feel guilty of not being to make any difference in their lives. I wish I could do something for those street children and motivate them to study and improve their lot. I wish I could feed all of them. I wish such thoughts of mine could also inspire the others to bring about a change collectively and individually.