“Can I have a pen, Madam?” An eight year old boy looks at me, dried snot under his nose. His shirt is shuffled and dirty, just as his hair. I’ve just taken my markers and cards out of bag. He set his eyes on the box with markers. “No, but you can make a drawing.” He looks bewildered. “Three pens, pleeeaaase?” “You may draw, but I’m not giving you any markers.” “Two pens” “You may draw.” He shrugs and takes off to the Ganges.
I look up to the stairs at Kedar Ghat, Varanasi where three students are drinking their chai, a sweet spiced 2014-01-05 12.22.32

2014-01-05 12.22.09

2014-01-05 12.22.45milky tea. I walk up and a few minutes later they are drawing about the political situation. How glad they are that AAM has won the elections in Delhi. The AAM is the party of the common man. Within one year after establishment they won 40% of the votes. They hope for change. A flute player draws how he likes to play the flute and also other men on the stairs are drawing. With this amount of drawing people the street kids come back and join the drawing. Their eyes shine and they smile while drawing multiple pictures. The topic of whether they can keep the pens comes up. An older men comes and asks for paper and a marker. “But mam, that man is not going to draw. He just took off with you pen.” The eight year old is certainly right and I don’t really care if I loose a few markers. But I had decided not to give markers away since the project is about making people feel good by letting them remember there good times, not by handing out markers. But when I see these kids, I don’t know if it’s the right choice. But I stick to my choice. So I say ‘no’ in the best way I can. While seeing them with respect, acknowledge what they want. And kindly staying with my decision. They take off and walk down to the Ganges. Still I see a few smiles.

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