Miscellany- Homeless and hapless

Harry Potter stayed with his Aunt in their house. He had a place to live in, but he didn’t have a home to call his own. Oliver Twist didn’t have a place or family of his own where he could safely say – “Please, may I have some more”? Home was never the same for Anne Frank after she turned thirteen. Charlie Chaplin’s Tramp made us happy and he seemed happy but was he happy being homeless?

 

Home- a sense of security; Home- a roof and four walls to call your own; Home – a place where you can rest your tired limbs after a hard days work; Home – where some one who loves you awaits you everyday and in some bizarre cases Home- where you do not feel trapped in spite of having the best of everything.

 

That was home for you, for me, for us because we know what home is to us. But what about the millions who do not? Why just paint the happy picture when we all know to each yin there is a yang, and to each sunshine yellow portrait of happiness, there is a dark gray painting of anything but happiness?

 

Trust me to come up with the perfect foil to all the sugar-coated home related mush: harsh reality and ruthless statistics.

 

“There are 100 million people who are homeless in whole of the world”- thus says the statistics. Of them, 78 million are in India alone. India is home to 63 percent of all slum dwellers in South Asia and there are 314,700 children living on the streets of Bombay [Mumbai], Calcutta [Kolkata], Madras [Chennai], Kanpur, Bangalore and Hyderabad, and another 100,000 live in New Delhi.

 

India winning.

India shining .

India whining about the state of the adminstration.

But 78 million people here are yearning for a home of their own.

 

Many of us feel for them I am sure. I will not say the adminstration or humanitrian groups are not doing their bit. But do you know what the ugly truth about the whole thing is? We don’t have a plan. No solid plan, and no back-up plan either. All we have are temporary measures. Temporary measures which seem to say- “Stay alive. Don’t give up on us”.

 

I am not blaming anyone. No body’s fault really. Nor do I need to enumerate here the causes of homelessness or the tragic events following the state of homelessness. I am sure all of you have a fair idea of all that. So what am I trying to achieve with my rant?

 

A solid plan maybe. Yes my call is for a solid plan. We have IIT-ians, Psychologists, Human resource experts, MBA’s. Can’t anyone form a master-plan to address the issue permanently?

Well maybe it is difficult, because a home is supposed to be a person’s future. A destiny . And an individual best builds his own destiny. At first glance, it seems that the most simple solution is employment. A person earns-saves-builds a home-and then manages it. A simple chain of events. But homelessness is a result of some evil vicious circle of joblessness, poverty, disasters, debts, despair, self -destructive behaviour leading back to joblessness. The miniscule weapon of ’employment’ can do nothing to break this cycle. Add to it worsening factors of crime, disease, addiction and illiteracy and the strange behaviour of enjoying one’s poverty after a time (yes that happens too)… and they are doomed.

 

The weak chain of Earn- Save- Build- Manage starts developing cracks at every level. And the most horrific part is it can happen to anyone. You , me , them – even the bigwigs. No one is immune. As they say, we all are at risk at fate’s hands. Probably that is one reason why people behave so insecurely and give in to the temptation of ‘corruption’. But that is another topic for another day.

 

What I wan’t to say is maybe we should see things from a different perspective. Till now we were trying to build a home for them with temporary shelters, charity homes, monetary aid, authorized jhuggi jhopdi colonies etc. etc. We were building their lives for them as per our convenience. But one creates his own life, shapes his own dreams, learns to colour them and treasure them. Can someone else do that for someone else? No. We can maybe just help them do it. We cannot create it for them. For if we do that it will be just shelters-Unappreciated. Bringing disappointment and maybe taken for granted. We can just guide them. Impress upon them the importance of maintaining and keeping their own home. Yes the importance of building a home and treasuring it, for a home needs nurture and care too to survive- home being your individual definition of what home is to you.

 

I know there are many issues and sub issues in this matter, to be dealt so simply. Maybe I have not dealt with it in an entire clarity. But maybe we should try to see things with an open, bold mind …sometimes.

 

But the bottom line remains- we still do not have a plan. What about you all? Do you?

 

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