" It is common sight for one-eyed beggars with DIY canes made out of branches, to steady themselves through the heavily congested streets."
The little dirt smeared face peered up at me with darling big brown eyes. He mustn't have been older than five, and yet he was alone, on the chaotic busy road begging for his life. He should have been in school. He should be in the arms of his mother. And yet, this lonely little angel was already an accomplished beggar. He knew an opportunity when he saw one, and in a city where there is zero tourism, a foreigner was a rare sight. Alternating slowly with his remaining left arm and right leg, he dragged himself across the filthy street and pushed the silver basin with his little belly. That's right, this baby boy only had 2 limbs.
Dhaka city, home to 140 million alleged inhabitants is Bangladesh's capitol. As expected, the vast divide between the rich and poor of the imbalanced social economic scales are off the charts. In a city where people willingly self harm to draw attention, or sympathy from passers by, it is common sight for one-eyed beggars with DIY canes made out of branches, to steady themselves through the heavily congested streets. Parents often can't afford to send their children off to school, so instead, they use them as bait to beg for whatever they can scramble their little hands on. Growing up in an affluent first world country, where kids get to behave like kids, my heart winced with pain watching this common occurrence. As a seasoned traveller, I know, how the system works. None of the money actually benefits the children themselves. It simple goes into the hands of the parents, or the 'pimp' carefully manipulating the transaction from the sidelines, off camera.
I knew, there was no way a mamed, malnourished child could survive on his own in this dog-eat-dog world. I knew, somebody would be keeping a close watch and would be ecstatic with the earnings. I knew, he wouldn't be rewarded with a warm bath and a decent meal at the end of the hard day. As I threw the 90 rupees, 3 times the recommended acceptable 'donation' and equivalent of just over 1 USD into his earnings bowl, the traffic light changed. With his combined look of disbelief and confusion, he looked up at me with his mouth agape. For that split second, as we locked eyes, I poured as much love and hope into my gaze as possible and kissed my hand and reached out to him. My rickshaw driver, completely oblivious to this gut wrenching exchange, sped off in haste to our next appointment. As the boy shrank in size to a mere dot in the growing distance, I sobbed uncontrollably like a child myself.
I don't believe in any god, but I do believe there is a greater force that we can't see. I wish that someday, that boy will get the love and hope that he's undeservedly missed out on in his cruel fate. If perhaps not in this lifetime, then hopefully the next.