To do or not to do

Its the meeting room of  a Revenue Department office in a small town Mahabubnagar in  the  big state of  Andhra Pradesh, India.   No one knows the reason for calling this untimely meeting.  Everyone was thinking ‘What did Sakku Bai make for lunch today’. Sakku  runs the canteen where all the employees have their lunch.
Bhai Aur Bahno“,  started the Head officer which sounded political than brotherly or sisterly,  “the reason for this meeting is as we already know that there is widespread drought in our District and many farmers are migrating as construction labor”
‘What about the drought in our stomachs now?’ thought many.
“So I on behalf  of the Collector  office I propose that we skip lunch every alternate day and donate that money to the ‘BACK TO FARMING’ Fund. This is already being implemented in Municipality and a great success”
With lot of resistance the employees gave it a ‘thumbs up’.
“Can we eat lunch today?” asked one employee  and everyone is laughing

The ‘Skip a lunch’ program spreads  to all other offices and businesses through the word of  hungry mouths. This in in vogue.  ” We skip lunch alternate day” other says “we skip lunch every day”
‘SKIP A MEAL ALTERNATE DAY’ became ‘SKIP A MEAL EVERY DAY’ and the sense of responsibility and accomplishment replaced everyone’s lunch boxes.
On the other side  Canteen and restaurant owners like Sakku Bai are going out of business as very few are having lunch.  Owing to very little business, they stopped buying vegetables from the farmers, grains from the stores. Very few farmers who are still farming sell their produce to these canteens as they offered little more than the middle men.
Farmers are forced to sell to the middle men and all the money goes to the money lenders. They too had to skip their lunch!
And the money donated by “BACK TO FARMING” Fund goes to money lenders – BACK TO THE RICH!
Their children had to skip school of course lunch, the teachers had to skip lunch too!
One fine summer day they get into the bus to Mumbai (all the drought hit towns of Andhra Pradesh have direct buses to Mumbai)  to take up construction work leaving behind everything while the people are skipping their lunches.

We are moving away from self-reliant communities into a Globalized World where many things are interdependent.

  • If Greece needs all of Europe to pitch in to resolve its economic crisis,
  • If a boy in India can only marry if  Americans keep buying Indian software,
  • If a child in China can only eat if  a child elsewhere buys toys,
  • If a child can have calm night if  somewhere someone explodes the Sivakasi crackers

then this is not an ideal world for the symbolic 7 billionth children!

boom time - gloom time

P.S. – Its not a mockery of Skipping a meal. Its noble and shows how much we care for others. I am only using it to illustrate how everything is intertwined and how delicately we are balanced, how a small thing can trigger a disaster and how our insanity and stupidity are  self-destructive. Regrets if this offended anyone.

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