Young ‘haves and have-nots’ glimpse the others’ world

April 23rd, 2008 - 10:48 am ICT by admin  

By V. Vijayalakshmi
Pune, April 23 (IANS) Emotions are bound to run high when the fortunate few meet the most unfortunate. One such occasion was an eye opener for kids from some of Mumbai’s elite schools who visited a Pune-based observation home where orphans and juvenile kids live. For 15-year-old Anant Goyal, studying in Mumbai’s St Mary School, the interaction over the weekend was “scary”. Spontaneously, he described the meeting: “What took me by surprise was that a simple chocolate could make them so happy.”

Yet another 15-year-old, Tanvi Dattani from the Dhirubhai Ambani school, thought the visit to the observation home made her realise how lucky she was. “I also felt a sense of remorse and need for charity.”

The unique interaction was organised by the Pune-based Sahyog Trust, run by human rights activist and lawyer Asim Sarode and the Mumbai-based NGO ‘Know Your Environment’, run by Kavita Shivdasani.

While the affluent Mumbai kids were dumbstruck by the stark reality of life, at the other end were the 220-odd residents of the Pune observation home - some of them juveniles serving sentences for crimes, and the others either orphans or children of single parents.

The observation home children had a field day gorging on burgers and cokes and playing with toys they had never dreamt of until then. So how did it feel to get such goodies?

Nine-year-old Suraj Sanjay Paranjpe put it: “I think it was a dream come true. I always thought how such food would taste… Owning such toys is unbelievable.”

Said eight-year-old Deepak Kishan Joshi, studying in Class 3 at the observation home: “I have always wanted to play with babeblades and Play-Doh.” Deepak likes being at the school, which, he says, is better than the home he used to live in with his mother. “Here I get good food, can go to school… They also let us play.”

The fancy toys and food might have impressed Suraj and Deepak, but for 17-year-old Praveen Digambar the shower of gifts failed to provide solace to his dreary existence at the juvenile home.

“I don’t like all this. It makes me wonder why we have to live like this, while they enjoy all the luxuries of life,” he said.

Praveen, who is serving a sentence for theft, wants to turn his life around after he gets bail. “I am doing a course in mobile phone repairing. I want to open my own shop after I get out of here.”

Kavita Shivdasani asserted: “Interactions such as these bring a change in behaviour among high society children. It makes them more humane and inculcates a sense of charity among youngsters.”

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