This is their playground.
These are their toys.
What sort of future
have these little boys?
“I know about these people, I studied sociology and read about them in textbooks and learned about them,” the sweating, bespectacled man huffed, walking quickly to keep pace.
“Do you know primary education in India is free? And these people don’t even send their children to school. They just want them to do the same work they’re doing, picking up trash,” the man informed.
Later, Shashi Pandit smiled at the recounting of what the man had said. “Yes, public education is free, but many times the children go and the teacher is not even there. Or the teacher leaves early, or doesn’t do anything. It really is no education at all.”
For the girls who squeal and run in front of the camera to have their pictures taken.
For the young man who pronounced himself “assistant” and insisted on carrying the camera, and for his sister who made chapati and dal with paneer for lunch.
For the woman proclaimed a “special guest” and ushered in front of the camera where she obligingly demonstrated her work, glancing up shyly in the process.
For the kindness and generosity shown to a complete stranger despite enduring overwhelming hardship. For laughter and joy found even while pulling small plastic bags from mountains of molding onion skins, banana peels, potato shavings and tea leaves. The people are the inspiration.