When people bring a topic about INDIA, they talk about our rich heritage and culture or the poverty. Yes, it is obvious that we have economic problems. (Every country does) . But the amount of character shown by my people always inspire me.
I would like to share some of my experiences from my childhood. If any of you ever traveled in India, you come across people selling food,clothes, artifacts and other stuff on the streets. I remember those days when I travel with my family we do not have any GPS to guide us. We do not even have maps or proper directions to go. When we want to go to a place, we used to stop at different road intersections asking people if this is the right way to go or not. They used to smile at us and give us directions with a warm heart.
Some of these people who are waiting at those stops are street sellers (hawkers). We get thirsty or hungry and buy some food from them. A typical street seller on these roadsides will be sitting under the sun with a cloth on his/her head with sweat rolling all over his body. A small plastic bag worth of food and a water bottle. Most of these people are from families where they have alcohol addiction problems, no proper housing, no proper food and water facilities available, electricity is available for only 6 hours a day at max. They used to sleep under the shade of trees, drink water from wells, eat food which might be cooked yesterday or donated by somebody.
We were raised by our parents to respect everybody by their age. We call a man who is elder than me as ANNA (which means brother), woman as AKKA (which means sister) and AVVA (for Grand Mother) and THAATHA ( for Grand Father). We showed the same respect towards this street sellers.
The fruits they sell are straight from their farm. They typically are priced 4 to 5 times less than what we buy at grocery stores. We Indians have a habit of bargaining even for the best deal. Even then the streetseller smiles and sells the fruit to us for a much lesser price. Even though they have so many problems in their lives, they don't accept our free money. They give us the fruit worth that extra money we give them. When we tell them that we are thirsty and we need some water, there are a few instances where they offered their water to us which takes a lot of character to do.
The amount of hard work they put to feed their families, educate their children, fighting through their everyday lives. Please do not ever consider them as beggars for one second. Is there anything more inspiring in this world than this people?