Traffic intersections in Delhi are often a live lesson about life. Almost every other signal presents fresh challenges of ethics and morality. As the traffic light turns red, children, barefoot and clad in rags grossly insufficient in staving off cold, run to the vehicles parked near the crossing. Their sharp eye and keen mind detects possible buyers in a couple of seconds. A look at ‘serious’ types, and a child thrusts books, ranging from Chetan Bhagat to Ayn Rand into their face. A car with a couple of kids in the rear attracts balloon sellers. Men at the steering are offered steering covers, car cleaners and key chains; women are often presented utility items, kitchen lighter to tiffin boxes. It says something about the mindset of the society. What remains unsaid is that the children selling these items should actually be coaxing their parents to buy them, kids selling balloons should be playing with them, those selling books should be in school reading them. It is a sad irony that this stark reality of our developing country touches the heart of a few, escapes the attention of most at traffic signals. As the light turns green, the mind shifts to the destination. Children, however, cross the road and begin their selling spree again.

Photos: Meeta Ahlawat and Sushil Kumar Verma

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