When you walk past the prominent bus stands or bus stops in Chennai downtown, one thing easily noticeable by everybody is the share auto. Share auto is one of the new modes of transport in the various towns and cities of Tamilnadu. As I am one among the thousands and thousands of software engineers in this country, I used to travel daily from my place to office through share auto. When you go near a share auto you will easily hear the grueling sound of young boys, shouting very loudly to make their auto jam-packed with people. I am wondering about the lives they lead, after seeing the nature of their job. In this article, I have tried to find out the reasons, which drive them to do such work instead of attending school and have compared their way of life with mine.
Maybe they are one among the millions and millions of poor citizens in the country who have been deprived of their basic needs. Maybe they have not been taught the importance of proper education. Maybe they are the sole breadwinners for their family. At that time, numerous such questions popped up in my mind. Few points came to my mind, when I sat down calmly and thought of this issue. I have listed those points below and tried to draw a comparison between their life and mine.
1) Within a few years of the current software industry boom, prices of essential commodities started to shoot up in all parts of the country, because of a corresponding increase in the purchasing power of the people. This change drastically affected the poor people. As a software engineer, I am earning more than Rs.1000/- a day whereas they are earning less than Rs.100/- a day on an average. Many a time, I have wondered how this amount could be sufficient for a family to have three square meals a day, let alone manage other day-to-day expenses? The above example is one form of development, which indicates a growing economy. This culture is similar to one, which is now existent in the U.S. i.e. Rich people are getting richer, and the poor are becoming poorer. So the gap between the rich and the poor has become very large.
2) These boys are wasting an important phase in their life – childhood. They are neither able to reap the benefits of education, nor are they able to enjoy the sweetness and innocence of childhood. The nature of their work literally robs them of their childhood by imposing rigorous physical labor on them at such a young age. If they are properly educated during this phase, they will probably have a chance of working in an A.C cubicle and earning a handsome salary in the future, instead of getting fried everyday under the hot sun. Maybe their parents themselves are illiterate and did not emphasize the importance of proper education to their children.
3) Generally young boys doing this kind of work may be seduced by all kinds of evil habits for want of proper guidance. They may take to these habits for the thrill of it or to escape the clutches of boredom. These boys spend most of their time idling away (as they have little work to do and live for the day) and as the saying goes ‘An idle mind is a devil’s workshop’. Sometimes they may fall under the influence of nefarious elements and become anti-social elements in the society. They may then have a corrupting influence on other young, innocent boys they meet, thereby creating a ‘ripple effect’, leading more and more children away from the path of education and honesty.
From the above points, I conclude that these people are more under-privileged than orphans in orphanages, because they don’t get proper education, they don’t have anybody to guide them in the correct path, they can easily fall prey to evil elements in the society.
After seeing the plight of these young and innocent, but unfortunate boys, I feel very much blessed by the almighty to lead a happy, content and peaceful life. I would like to acknowledge this blessing by saying a quiet ‘Thank You’ to the lord. Finally, I would like to conclude this article by quoting a message I remember:
“If you have food in the refrigerator, clothes on your back, a roof overhead and a place to sleep you are richer than 75% of this world.
If you have money in the bank, in your wallet, and spare change in a dish, you are among the top 8% of the worlds wealthy.
And if you get this on your own computer, you are part of the 1% in the world who has that opportunity.
Also If you woke up this morning with more health than illness you are more blessed than the many who will not even survive this day.
If you have never experienced the fear in battle, the loneliness of imprisonment, the agony of torture, or the pangs of starvation you are ahead of 700 million people in the world.
If you can attend a place of worship without the fear of harassment, arrest, torture or death you are envied by, and more blessed than three billion people in the world.”