Last September, I had written about my neighbor Tom, who was dying of lung cancer and the doctors had decreed that he had about 90 odd days to live. Well, Tom died peacefully, in the comforts of his house, this past Saturday. He did not wish that his wife should witness him dying thereby banishing her from the bedroom, during his final living moments. As Pat, Tom’s wife, tearfully recounted later, she peeped through the window for one final look at him, and saw him take three short breath of air, and then passed on to the great unknown. Earlier in the morning, he was seen crying, since he did not want to face the inevitable.
It was a beautiful day on Saturday. Unusually warm for bitter Michigan winter weather and the sun was out in all its glory. Tom, as per his wishes, was cremated.
Last week we watched the excellent documentary ‘Born Into Brothels (2004)’ by Zana Briski. This documentary focuses on the lives of the children of prostitutes in the red light district of Kolkata, Sonagachi. This documentary tells the story of the lives of the prostitutes through the eyes of their children. Zana attempts to teach photography to these kids and tries to make sense of the pictures captured through their lenses. No different from the ‘Saalam Bombay’ and ‘City of Joy’ movie milieu, what is a bit different in this documentary is the closeness to the characters viz. the children. One cannot help notice that the innocence of these children is long gone and acts that would be considered preposterous for the rest of us, is just routine life for these children. Just because they do not have a choice, I guess. And what a depressing life it is.
Most of these kids very well know that their lives will be dragged into the same gutter that proliferates all round them and that there is simply no recourse. They have simply resigned themselves to whatever life has dished out to them. It’s definitely worth a watch, if only to realize what kind of miserable lives people lead in this big bad world, and that children should be guaranteed a better life, anywhere in the world, no matter which parents they are born to.
Last night I happened to catch the State of the Union speech by President Bush, which came across as the same old rhetoric about Iraq and Al Qaeda. This time he mentioned fighting off competition from emerging economic giants like China and India. Impressive, huh. The Axis of Evil, Iran was beaten down for its nuclear ambitions with the President addressing the people of Iran directly, in an effort to free them from the reign of their oppressive “clerical minority”. Ugh, huh, I hope this is not heading where we think its heading.