This is a picture Vikas sent to me. There is a story behind it, of course.
Last year, during ‘No Car Day’ we went to Carter Road for a fest. There were lots of kids and their parents enjoying cycling rides, street dances, painting etc. We sat by the local coffee shop and kept looking at the festivities all around. That is when we noticed a young boy – around 8 – selling colouring books to the children. He looked about the same age as the children playing, and yet he was ‘working’. So, we bought a dozen colouring books from him, so that he could go and play. Since we had all the books and neither of us are, uhm, creatively inclined… we decided to give them back to kids. Ever since, we have been giving away colouring books and little boxes of wax crayons to children when they ask for money at traffic signals.
Yes, it is not going to help them in any way. They probably would sell the books again. Or maybe they will colour them for a minute and then go back to asking for money. But, a child needs to be a child for some time at least. And this picture proved it to us.
Vikas met this girl near a cake shop in Bandra. He gave her the book and went inside the shop to order (Which reminds me, I am in the mood for some nice gooey cake). He didn’t expect to see her again. But she was there, sitting on the pavement and colouring away to glory.
I think we got our sign.
P.S. we started doing this because a friend’s company had organised something similar. But it is completely do-able by any one. You don’t require big budget ( 20 Rs for a colouring book, and 10 Rs for the wax crayons), it doesn’t require you to spend too much time if you are always rushing about, and it makes your day. Try it with one book and tell me if you haven’t felt the joy.