October 27, 2008


Who is an underprivileged kid? A kid who commutes in auto-rickshaw and carries one of the most flashy mobile handsets? The English definition of underprivileged is "Lacking the rights and advantages of other members of society".

My friend is a project manager with around 8 years of experience in IT industry. A few days back I met him at a bus stop. He told me he was waiting for a bus!! He doesn't have a car or a motorbike. He is no miser. I can vouch for that. So then... why bus and not an auto-rickshaw!!?? Because he (and I) think the rickshaw-walas of Bangalore are looters who charge exorbitantly and extort money from their passengers. He said he couldn't afford their charges, which seldom go by the meter. Hence commuting by bus.

My relative has three kids studying in a "privileged" school in Bangalore. None of them carry mobile handsets. They don't have the latest computer and accessories at their home. All they have is an obsolete model that gives them constant trouble.

Why am I bringing up all these?

One of my part time activities is to teach "underprivileged" kids as a volunteer of an NGO. I teach them computer basics. I admit there are a bunch of kids who are truly underprivileged. But when I see some others walking into the classroom with flashy mobile phones, and see them commuting in auto-rickshaws, I wonder why am I spending time here teaching “underprivileged” kids, who appear to be truly privileged!! Had I had to teach privileged kids, I would be teaching my near-and-dear “privileged” kids! That would be far more rewarding! Besides, they truly lack the advantages a mobile phone or a rickshaw can offer!

I'm not ignoring other aspects these "underprivileged" kids might be having, such as, a troubled family. But then, it is also my choice and impression, which I can't ignore. I would prefer working for the upliftment of those kids who do lack mobile handsets and who, like other common people in India, commute by bus!

Perhaps the truly underprivileged are unable to find their way to my class. Perhaps the teacher should go out searching for them...

1 comment:

sandeep said...

do i know ur 8-year experienced friend? :)

on a serious note, i guess this happens everywhere. atleast some of the guys who were getting scholarships in schools and colleges werent the deserving ones. and yeah ... i dont even want to start on the topic of reservation!