ZZZZZZZZZ Wake up to Project Why

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#ProjectWhy    #AtoZChallenge

The beggars and hawkers rest in the evening sun,
Their jobs done for the day,
The flyover and traffic lights their domain,
The stopped cars and rickshaws the target,
As they tap on the window,
Mournful expression, the honed and practice sad eyes,
Occasionally a baby in arms,
Always the same call and action,
Fingers shovelling to the mouth,
Khaana, khanna, khaana,
Eat, eat ,eat.
Some are genuine, some are controlled by crime gangs,
Most a have protected pitch,
Which means they have to pay someone,
Most are persistent and good humoured,
When I travelled to and from Project Why,
We would stop at the same junction morning and evening,
I would play cat and mouse with three young beggars,
I would try to photograph them,
They were very adept at dodging the camera,
The  unspoken understanding and smile told,
You give us nothing we give back nothing,
It was a game, they recognised the rickshaw,
Rarely bothered us,
When I was leaving to return to England,
I bought them Indian sweets call Gulab Jamun,
My favourite very sweet and sticky,
I ran through the mad Delhi traffic to reach them in the middle,
They were perched on a little concrete island inches from cars and buses,
I held out the box of sweets, no camera in hand,
The three youngsters looked puzzled,
Didn’t understand why this white Britisher,
Who never gave them money,
Was approaching them to give,
Rather than them putting on their sad show to beg,
Nonetheless they took the sweets ans scattered into the traffic,
I never saw them again.
These are the children Project Why exists for,
A reason it started, a differently-abled beggar,
Being taken advantage of and a physically abused,
He was taken under the wing of Project Why,
Given dignity and a reason to be happy.

This month of April, I have been taking part in The A to Z Challenge,
Every day except Sundays, writing a blog going through,
All the letters of the alphabet,
I chose to write each day about my time in India,
With a wonderful charity called Project Why,
They give education, welfare and work skills to children and women,
From the slums of south Delhi.
They all do an amazing job.
They have so much love, give so much love, receive so much love.
But love is not enough in these modern times,
They need regular donators.
To carry on their brilliant work.


Day 7 – Mirror


Objects in the mirror. She’s not an object, she’s a person, a little beggar girl.  A reflection on a society. Ignored, shooed away or just plain treated as invisible when she taps on car windows with a well practiced and trained, pleading face. A smile is given not money, she gives up and her face breaks into a wide grin, appreciating a little kindness she is not used to.
Her family live their life out under a flyover, on a busy junction and beg for a living. Who knows their story, perhaps once migrant workers now jobless, perhaps shipped in by ‘boss’ types to take advantage of begging rights and taken advantage of themselves. Genuine or not it doesn’t matter.
They’re there in early the morning, making roti on a little fire, bathing or still sleeping on the concrete before they get ready for the rush hour. They’re there in the evening, finishing off after the rush hour, cooking , bathing or getting ready to sleep again on the concrete. The only time they disappear is when the police are gathered at their police hut in the middle of the junction, but to most they don’t appear to be there at all, at least they pretend they’re not there.