Short post, just a few random thoughts. Been doing the Bangalore-Mysore trip quite a few times in the past few months, and usually reach the station at B’lore late in the evening (Since I don’t believe in political correctness, BengaLuru won’t appear more than this one time). A walk through the subway to the bus station from the railway station transports you quite literally (and metaphorically) to the underbelly of this silicon(e?) valley wannabe.
Women lined up, reclining against the subway walls, which are stained with chewed betel leaves, showing that if these women are comfortable in these surroundings, one can only imagine what their regular surroundings would be like. They bear the lewd looks of passersby and retort with stinging remarks to the equally stinging and demeaning remarks of abhorrent men. Being highly enterprising businesswomen, they answer even cursory glances with a questioning stare : “How about it?”.
Another interesting group of people are beggars. Their methods have become more and more sophisticated (or crude?) as time passes by. The woeful, pained look which appears only when someone passes by (I have actually seen the transition from normal to unhappy happen!), using kids and handicaps as props, and resorting to touching and pawing at people as a last try. Atleast people would give in not to be pawed at. How many times have we not seen people jumping back or warning beggars not to touch them?
The third group is that of the hijras. This group is probably discriminated against the most, you would not find one travelling via public transport even if they are able to afford it. Wearing loud makeup and using equally loud voices and claps to get paid to get away from a certain place is one of the very few options for them to make money. Though they are getting organised to fight against it, how widespread such a movement would be and how it would help change public perception is to be seen.
The thing to be noticed about all the above mentioned groups is that they are highly incapable of earning money in ways which does not have to reduce them to sideshows due to a large number of factors. Also to be noticed is that the only way to keep body and soul together is by feeding off the lust, shaky ethical stands and disgust of the rest of the society respectively. Interestingly also, these are largely urban phenomena: the more affluent the city, the more prevalent are members of these groups. What inferences can one draw from such observations ? Each will have their own views, i’ll leave it at this.