My nephews (5, 2) and I were driving to get ice-cream. On the way I saw a kid, smaller than my older nephew sweeping a little piece of the street in front of tiny tea stall (built on the median between the road). We bought ice-cream and on the way back, I stopped to give the kid one. When I got back in the car, my younger nephew asked why I gave bhaiya ice cream. To which Aadi, the older one replied, “he may also feel like having an ice-cream sometimes but he has no money”. I said yes. After a couple minutes of silence, he chimed again, “but he will get money – his father was selling something”.
My little nephew – understood the inequity and sadness of that situation, wanted some solution, realised the unsustainability of external aid and in the 30 seconds it took me
to run across the street and back, noted the tea stall with its little tobacco pouches, and figured that there was an independent possibility there. I can only hope that when he’s old enough to understand the meagerness of these little footpath enterprises, he will feel the same need for a solution.