Trip to India - Teen Travel Writing Scholarship Essay - My Family Travels
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            Traveling has always been something I wanted to do. Every time I visit a new area, I feel a new sense of understanding is created. One such understanding was learned during one of my vacations.

Over the summer of 2008, my family and I went to India. We visited a city by the Ganges River  called Haridwar. We took part in a ceremony which involved prayer to the Hindu gods and goddesses. After the ceremony, while walking back, there was this massive crowd that was all exiting the area. Walking down a couple of staircases, one could see the massive population migrating in the same direction, but while walking the people started to fork left and right and circle around a particular gap. I didn’t realize what they were walking around until I got closer. It turns out the people were walking around a boy. 

            The child was a beggar who seemed about thirteen years old. He was sitting down on a couple of rags. The rags themselves were covered in mud and dirt. Piles of feces could be viewed around the youth’s immediate vicinity. The child was malnourished and diseased with scoliosis. In America, it’s fairly difficult to tell if one has this back problem due to treatment that most receive, but for this child, it was obvious. How? The kid’s spine was clearly twisted up and looked like a capital letter S was written on his back. The spinal defect was so pronounced; the area where an overweight human would have love handles instead had vertebrae that jutted out so far each vertebrate could’ve been counted visually. The kid’s fingers were mutilated. They were crushed inwards as if you folded your fingers to the ball of your palm and someone brought pliers to the finger joints and just crushed them so far inward they couldn’t be opened again. The child’s pencil thin legs and looked like a pretzel in which the dough wasn’t properly folded right; In other words the kid look like he was sitting crossed legged but with two sets of knees instead of just one. Clearly being tormented by his situation, he was crying, he was asking for money, he was asking for anything that could help.

The most depressing truth above all is this was done with intent by ring-leaders of the beggar’s mafia; a gang that works similar to prostitution only money is traded due to pity of the impoverished. This child one of the many was being used for profits. Any money that he collected would be forcibly taken by a gang member who brought these kids there to begin with. Anyone could tell the authorities, but they probably already know the situation. Instead of arresting these thugs, they take their rounds accepting cop bribes the gang members most surely has to offer. 

As I walked past the boy he looked at me while I looked at him back. And I looked into those eyes and saw myself in his position. To be trapped in one spot, immobile. Have nothing else to say except to ask passersby for sustenance, but only to feel the apathy of the public. Here I am, in America, living the life of a free person, with more rights then most people ever get in this world, and there I see the paradox of my life; another doomed puppet to act as the slave of a corrupted business that continues on to this day. I will never forget that boy’s impression nor will I ever take my life for granted.

 

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