{Of all lies, art is the least untrue - Flaubert}

Friday, April 28, 2006


Bala is a child of about 7-8 years, he is not privileged and he needs help. Nobody knows about his parents and people like to call him orphan. In some cases, they think that he is suffering from some incurable disease, in other cases, he shows a great desire to be educated and want to be helped, in yet other cases, he is survivor of some tsunami or a remote earthquake or a refugee from Bangladesh or Sri lanka - some needy alien. Bala needs helps in all the cases and we can give him that ray of hope, we can reach out and hold his hands, take a walk.

Come December, the brightest and the sharpest of minds draw the portrait of a young child as a destitute and Bala is born yet again on paper in 300 words essays, where vivid human stories are sketched. Bala becomes the face of poor and the author - the savior of the human face. Bala becomes the first effort to bring a big difference in society by the author, his first successful campaign, we are afraid others are not far away. Usually these essays, the eloquent treatise on humanity and love which they are, closes with a lovely quotation or a heart rending line which outlines the pleasure in the eyes of Bala when the author last spoke to him. Bala smiles his pain away.

It has been long argued that Bala is the most successful fictional character with moving power of metamorphosis to any concept of plight and misfortune, bringing great fortune for the author. No application gets a closure with Bala and his friends frolicking with hope and love. In return Bala gets ample help but like any regular poor soul everything remains on paper with envelopes closed.

With all the support, Bala remains poor and needy, has stopped growing, and is always thinking of howling and beating his tin drum. He even wishes to die before he is helped to death. He is always worried about the unforeseen plights he will be put in next, how many times they will kill his parents or make him consume gift wrapped despair. Next December, his parents may be killed by the maoists or submerge in Narmada basin or he may even loose a leg in a fire accident - creativity has no bars, when driven by desire to win.

He has given up hope that he can ever be both happy and useful. He sometimes grows happy that someone real can take his place but the next moment learns about the impossibility of such hope, the mortality of any such soul vis-a-vis the durability of his virtual plight. Bala exists, december to december, in perfect poverty, with desperately indigent eyes. He is always made to play his next part with required melancholy. As an art, chronicles of Bala are evolving. This time he was not allowed to weep because its too melodramatic, he was made to simmer and simmer. He already feels an expert of emotional prostitution.

Last time when Bala got some chocolates and a pack of crayons from an aspiring professional, he is filled with an irresistible desire to go back to his mother's womb or somewhere faraway from help and hope . Not that he despises hope or fear losing it, nor little sweets irritates him, its the look of smugness on the face of the donor that kills him, the satisfaction of doing his bit, the sex drive of an impotent, the divine smile of screwing a little soul, muffled for eternity.

A normal day with bright sunshine, the playful movements of young limbs, a mango eating orgy - these are some of the episodes which Bala will never experience in his life of eternal childhood. He is too good to be of any fun value, this child laborer is into some serious business catering to big bosses. But as they say, for all practical purposes, you must picture Bala smiling with warmth, and waving for help.


ventilatorblues said...

Here I am for the third or fourth time reading this and wondering what lies behind the words. I like the feel, but I dont get the intent. Sometimes we write not to be understood, but if this is not one of those times, perhaps you will write some more and let me know who Bala is, and why you wrote this. :)

Anonymous said...

I agree with the above comment. Perhaps you intend, but I am failing here to get any message other than something that's trying to prick my emotional self. Are you trying to appeal emotionally and end up doing the same thing for which you critisized Mr.Khan and his troupe? If its not then, maybe I am getting it completely wrong.

Or for my final guess, is this article trying to rake up the ethical question of wheather to give alms to a dying child begger, one freqently come across on a street-signal.

Am I confused :@ ?

-- Rushikesh

Anonymous said...

the sex drive of an impotent, the divine smile of screwing a little soul, muffled for eternity.

Hope I have never given you my essays to proof-read. But this time you are right, at least conceptually.


anurag said...

vb, it is not one of those posts intentionally :). I think the comment by 'anon' must have clarified something.

Rushi, you are confused like I do :)

anon, Thanks a lot for commenting. It was a surprize to see you here.

Alok said...

okay okay, now i get this....


km said...

Very interesting post, Anurag.

I had a different take on it before I read the comments. To me, it seems like people like us - the privileged lot - "need" Bala as much as he needs us. We give to charity because we want to bask in the glow of our deed. Without a recepient, what will we be, and how will we demonstrate our humanity?

anurag said...

Thanks Alok.

km, I think, you got the intent before reading the comments. Thanks.

vb, want to thank you again for reading the post 3-4 times, really appreciate. Merci beaucoup.

Indrajith said...

I don't understand even a bit of the critic inside Anurag taking swings and fickles. I feel it is going byond my capacity. I trust I should learn. :-)

Bala said...

I just stumbled upon this by accident. I'm astounded at how much it is like me. Beyond just my name being Bala. Scary and fascinating at the same time. Anurag, why December? My birthday is in December...

anurag said...

Dear Bala, don't take this too seriously, its just a co-incidence.

Thanks a lot for visiting.