Thursday, February 10, 2011

Manitoba blues

Churchill is a town in the prairies of Manitoba area in Canada, it is called the polar bear capital of the world. The other day a program on National Geographic channel showed how bears that get too close to the town are captured and released farther from the town on their annual migration routes around the Hudson Bay. The bears are treated pretty nicely even during the temporary captivity. We are yet to learn to treat our fellow citizens even humanly!
The other day coming to office something strange caught my eye. A child at a residential construction, rolling in mud. Well! that is not something exceptional to see in India. You can see scores of children nearly at every construction site, the older ones, usually girls, taking care of the younger ones as young as a year or so. I reversed the car back to take a look. The child that I had seen was barely two years old, he had peed in his pants and tried to get the wet pajamas off unsuccessfully. He was covered in soil and was pulling at a plastic tether that tied the helpless kid to a nearby tree!  I got down from the car to verify if I was really seeing what I was. It was a human kid being treated worse than they treat their bears in Manitoba.
My daughter is 18 months old and for a moment I saw my own daughter instead of that kid tied to the tree such that the mother can continue earning her wages and the kid doesn't stray onto the road risking being run over by a vehicle. I fumed, fretted and shouted at everyone from the mother, owner of the property, the contractor and even the people who were bystanders there! I drove to office shaking and crying. So much for our GDP figures, rich middle class and the smarter planet.

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