A curious spirit with undying thirst to thrust unto the deepest realm of humans senses. A continual journey to challenge an intellectual pursuit. And a sensitive soul pursuing to the meaning of each bumps and bruises on each corner of this journey we call Life.
It was just another ordinary afternoon. My mind was full of what I have to do at home before the day ends. But then, however my mind was occupied, children of five stole my attention away from my deep thoughts. For the next fifteen minutes, these children stole not just my attention, but my heart as well.
These children ranges from 7 to at least 3 years old. As they chase the passenger jeepney where I was at the moment, I can not help but frown as they playfully gamble with their young lives. In less than a minute, all of them were able to get inside the passenger jeepney. But then, just as I thought that every one was already in the safe zone, the driver noticed that one of the children was still clinging on the rear side of the public vehicle. As I turned my head to take a peak, I saw sheer delight on this child's eyes.
This group does not have a familiar face but I am certain they belong to the same group who distributes envelope for purposes of asking for alms. That afternoon was different, though they distribute their envelope, they were not vigilant on collecting them.
They were shouting with glee as they find their respective turf in the public vehicle. Maybe this is a playful day for them. One of these children sat beside me. The smell of some one who had been in the sunlight for a long period of time lingers as she comfortably leaned her slender body on my shoulder. I did not know her, she just leaned on me for some reason. My eyes went from one child to another. Their bodies are already dark with dirt and most of them already smelled unpleasant that I could not help but to wonder of when was the last time these children took their bath. Their clothes were torn that I can not help but to wonder if they even have decent cloths.
The eldest sat beside me and a 5 year old girl sat in front of the young girl next to me. She said she is already hungry as she took out what she claimed to be her lunch. It was a half consumed biscuit. Her meal is a three pieces of half-eaten biscuit. As she took a bite, the other kids kept on laughing and mocking her. They talked about an embarrassing incident regarding this girl that prompted her to be quiet. The group did not stop that eventually, she was not able to eat what was left of her meal. I can not help but to notice that it was already 5:00pm yet she mentioned lunch. Would she be able to even have her dinner that night? She kept her silence the whole ride but I see a stung of sharp look in the supposedly innocent eyes of hers. Sometimes, situations can be tough and people around us can be unkind. Ironically, even children are not an exemption to this predicament.
The boy next to her uttered he will run away. The group gave her a doubtful gesture and a challenging response. The boy reacted with a question "Wouldn't you all?" They all went speechless for a while. However, the group were able to swiftly bounce back and regain their carefree and blissful mode in no time. Maybe it was some passing conversation among themselves. What went to my mind? This boy should have a family who protects his welfare and keep him safe. Every children have the right to be protected. Sometimes, life can be harsh even to defenseless children. Sometimes, in the face of hopeless desperation, we wear a mask of mischievousness in order to survive and hide an unseen wound. Is it possible that these children learned this art in such tender years?
As they reached their destination, the girl who sat next to mine gestured to the driver that they need to drop off from the public vehicle. I watched them as they aligned from the vehicle and cross the street. The eldest girl dragged the 3 year old boy companion because his movement was quite slow. He even left his slippers that the elder girl forcefully dragged him so they could cross the street and beat the vehicles that were swiftly approaching on their direction.
I looked at them until i could see them no more. A prominent figure once said that the youth is the hope of this nation. But then, I also can not help but to wonder, what is the future waiting for these children? How can they even survive this different kind of jungle? Would they be able to get a decent life? How about an education? Will they even have an education at all? Or will be they grow up as professional beggars or thieves? Will they grow up as an asset to the community or will they be hardened by poverty that they will turn out as a liability?
And so as their images play in my mind, I can not help but to wonder how these children could stand out and win the cut-throat competition in the modern world...the concrete jungle.
How about you, would you know how? Or do you also wonder, like me.
I heard people usually say, count your blessing. And so as some of us count these blessings coming our way, can we also reach out to those who are lesser blessed ?
I am not religious, my friend. And so, I am not really using the word "blessing". Just for "Little Angels in the Concrete Jungle". It could be an invitation or a challenge. Or perhaps... simply a thought to ponder.