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Sept Story Challenge - India Train Ride
Thanks again for the challenge Carol. This is a story that keeps me grounded and grateful for my good fortune.
Supplies: All DD
Challenge freebies (thanks Katie)
Eat Cake photo corners
Spot Dot flourish overlays
Almost there Solid Paper
Your dad and I travelled around India in 1999. I was 30 years old and probably quite naïve. But I wasn’t a mom. So when we read about the kids that would be begging on the streets, playing the tourists, saying “No Mama, No Papa, Chapatti, Chapatti” we prepared ourselves with logic to say no, as we knew the money doesn’t go to the kids, it goes straight to their handlers.
What I was not prepared for was an experience on a suburban train just outside of Mumbai.
We had spent the weekend at the beach with Jervis and his family. Late in the evening they put us on the train at Santa Curz going to Church Gate where we could catch the city train back into Mumbai.
It was easily 10:30 at night. The train was fairly quiet, only a dozen or so men in our carriage.
At one of the stops a young girl climbed into the carriage. She was small. Looking back, she was probably smaller than you are now at age 5. Her hair was matted. Her face was dusty. She wore a dress with a flower pattern, but I couldn’t tell the color from the dirt. There were button holes down the back of the dress, but they were not done up because all of the buttons were missing. Her feet were bare.
We watched as she swept the floor with a home-styled brush (almost twig-like). As she swept and came upon a passenger she would divert her eyes, but hold up her hand. Sometimes she received a coin or two. Sometimes she was just ignored.
When she finished; she sat on the floor near the carriage door. At the next stop a young boy, maybe a year or two older, climbed in and sat next to her. He wore a pair of shorts and that was all. He also carried a brush.
She handed him her coins and they huddled together as they counted them.
At the next stop they left our carriage.
They hadn’t even come near us.
I was in tears, and your dad was close to it as he held me in his arms.
I wanted to run after them and save them. I wanted to bathe them, dress them in clean pajamas, give them a teddy bear to cuddle and watch them sleep with peaceful dreams. I wanted them to be children and have all the love and safety that every child deserves.
If you ever have moments in life when it doesn’t seem fair or just – and you will – think of this story.
Side note: I used the 10 rupee note on the page, less for its significance as money and wealth and more because I believe Gandhi had such noble desires for his country and he reminds us of how we can each make a difference in the world.