Delhi Diary- What do you see?

IMG_2752 „Read On“, cry the boys you can see on a cardboard box. „Hey, boys“, say I and search for sweets in my pocket. They smile, even when you can not see it and four minutes later the cardboard box is not a cardboard box anymore but a ship that carries two pirates across a dangerous and wild sea. „Take some more sweets, I say, conquering the world makes hungry“ and two little pirate nod in unison, before they are getting back on their boat and dive deep down into the wide, wide sea. A third boy leans over a water canister, looking for a leak. Here, water does not come out of a tap but is stored in such a canister. In the morning a truck comes by to distribute water for the many, many inhabitants. It is never enough and a leak is a disaster. A boy with an immaculate white shirt is ready to go to the school. He is one of the few boys that goes to a government school. His shift starts in the late afternoon and his elder brother, you can see in the background, will come over later to show me his Leaving Cert, which shows only good grades. He looks stunned and very much grown up. „What will you do?“, say I and he says even prouder:“College“. Neither his mother nor his father are able to write their names. You can see B. feeding her baby. She sits on the bare ground. It is her favorite place, because it is the highest point of the street, it dry and it is not muddy. The little boy is her fifth child, the two little pirates are her sons as well. B. comes to collect milk every day. Breastfeeding is the only chance her baby has. As ever: there is never enough.What you can not see, the place where B. sits is the most frequented and the most popular space of a street and a quarter where no toilets and no sewage system exist. And it is the highest place of the street, the faeces are rinsing down. Unfortunately they tend to rinse in the little well you can see just in the middle of the street. The well leads through many houses, most of them are built even deeper than the well. In the monsoon season the well is full of water, faeces and garbage that finds its way easily into the homes of the people living here. You might see if you look quite closely that another well runs along the house that has black plastic foil on its top covered with the most heavy things the household possesses to hinder it from coming down. The wells are the perfect breeding grounds for mosquitos. The house itself has no daylight and the ladder leading upstairs belongs to another family. You might see the clothes on the clothes line and you might have wondered why you see so many plastic buckets, They are the washing machines of the people, you see or do not see on the picture. Above the building with the blue door, you even can see a yellow bucket half full of water and when the washing is done, the water is used and needed for other purposes. The wires are all illegal but this seems to be rather an euphemism than the truth. One has to be careful, especially when it rains, every year people, especially children get electrocuted. What you definitely will not see on the photo are security nets of any kind. There simply is none. You can see two little plants growing in a pot. You can see the people here have the same desire for something green and blooming as you and I. If you look closely you can see two brooms on the roof above the well. The people here like it clean and neat, just as you and I. Do you see the pair of shoe?. They belong to a girl who, had to run very, very fast to fly up high in her father’s arms, just as your children like to do. Do you see the soap just above the door frame where the elder brother stands? The people here like to feel comfortable and to smell as nice as possible, just like you and me. Do you see? What do you see?

4 thoughts on “Delhi Diary- What do you see?

  1. As long as an important part of the world population does not have access to clean water, all our scientific achievements and our technology are not much to be proud of. Also, I like what you said about the two little plants.

  2. I totally agree. It is rather strange that we so happily consume products manufactured in those countries but do not care a bit under what conditions the people doing so, have to live. They are not simply „the poor“ but people, who have the very same wishes and desires we have. This seems often totally to get lost.

  3. I studied the photograph and saw so much. Then I studied your writing and saw so much more. Then I looked around my yard and neighborhood and realized how very much we have. People need to read more writing like yours that clarify the realities of the world. I really believe that people around the world are more alike than different, and the details you shared about the two shoes, the brooms, the soap, and the houseplants bolster my belief.

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