– Jaihoon

Today’s news programs are pretty interesting to watch, as happenings around the world are begin to hatch. And everyone- be it political or heretical or the combination of both- try to become a celebrity in his or her own right.

Thanks to today’s media, the princely pundits and queenly bandits easily make it to the celebrity’s podium.

But strange I should say, a boy who survived the slaughter of poverty, attained in my heart the status of a celebrity.

And watching this poverty-filled story,
Blurred became the eyes of Jaihoon,
With tears that appeared so soon.

The poverty-celebrity belonged to the literacy-rich but currency-poor state of Kerala. Philanthropists such as Sri Narayana Guru, once roamed here with his message that Caste, Religion, God were Oru (One).

The 2 minute story in midst of the news ran thus.

The Christian family, to which the boy belonged, had three sons.

They were poor. Very very poor, for sure.
Unable to bear the pangs of hunger,
Their neighbor’s house did they illegally enter.
When caught by the owner,
Covered with shame and dishonor
They committed their own murder.

… the three of them drank poison, but the third one survived by the grace of God. A social care center was generous enough to adopt this child and provide for his food- at least, if not bless him with designer wear and plate of fries and burger.

The curious but cautious cameramen asked the child’s mother: “Are you not sad, that your ‘re-born’ child is taken away?”

The mother replied, “No. At least he will be fed there”.

But in between these daring words,
Was disrupting the sound of breaking tears.

Which mother could see her child- who just survived a suicidal attempt- be taken away from her? But then she let him go… so that he could eat his stomach full, for once a day at least. So that next time, he didn’t have to break into another neighbor’s house and be caught and attempt another try to take his life… She let him go, she loved him. She fed him when he was in her womb. Now that he was in this world, she could not see him go hungry.

The 2-minute news episode was done. News was back to normal. Asian games. Political games. War games…

Next time we sit in front of a plateful of food, we have to think once… at least… of such deprived children… who commit theft just to kill hunger… not to compete with each other in going out to the lavish places nor to take pride in filling the belly with superior brand names promoted by multinational food chains.

Not everyone in this world can access food with a token or a button… it is not entirely in our hands to produce food whenever we want. Everything happens by His Will, His Mercy…

And perhaps that is why the Adorable Teacher of Culture taught us to say thus after having food:

‘All praise is to Allah who fed me and granted me (food) without my power or might.’

sallallahu ala Muhammad sallallahu alaihi wa sallam…

Written on October 7th 2002 after watching the 5pm news telecast on a satellite channel.