This was written as a part of an application for the GrassRoutes Fellowship 2010. I did get selected to be a fellow but had to defer my trip due to the dates coinciding with the ones for my admission in DU. This year again, I had too much on my plate to go for the same. But applying for the fellowship was an experience in itself and for a kid just out of school to actually talk and interact with the people who run this program was a brilliant gift. All of them are smart, driven, gifted and very, very inspiring people. Just the kind I needed to learn from before I began college =). Maybe, after college, when I do not have the compulsion to prioritize theater, I shall take this trip.
There is a street behind jantar mantar, a short walk from the CP metro Station, tucked away, very close to where we go meet our friends in central park or to catch a movie or a bite to eat.
That street is an opposite reality from the one we know, while we are sitting and eating in KFC or McDonalds, a little distance away is a street lined with little tents filled with people whose existence we are not aware of, most people are not aware of, and while we sit and fill our stomachs..most of those people, who by the way are between the age’s of fifty and seventy, are on hunger strike.
But we are not really bothered, most people aren’t and by the looks on their face’s…the looks that broke my heart…they are aware of this.
I went there a while ago with my grandfather who was one of the many retired personnel to hand back his medals to the government in a form of protest. I have, like him kept myself informed and spread the word of the “One Rank, One pension” movement. I have just done so in a different, younger group of people.
I went there expecting a rally, instant change, but what I saw there was completely different. This street is officially given by the government for the start of all protests and hunger strike’s. It is lined with people, mostly old, who sit there hoping for the government and someone in power to take note of their cause, pay attention to the people who elected them. I saw old people with their grandchildren on their lap who hadn’t eaten for days and every time I stopped to talk, their face’s lit up and they seemed to gain a little more energy knowing that someone, especially someone as young as me was bothered about them, cared about their plight.
You will truly not understand what I mean unless you see the look they have, the hope in their eyes when they tell you what cause they stand for.
And when you do, you’d want to care, you’d want to spread the word, generate awareness, tell more people about it and make sure action is taken.