On Thursday night, I stumbled upon a documentary on the Ganges that was aired by BBC One. After contemplating on whether to watch or not, I decided to give it a go as it’s always a struggle to find something interesting to watch on TV nowadays. 10 minutes into the documentary, I found myself drawn to the Ganges kids amongst the other age group interviewed.
Here is a quick summary of The Ganges just in case you’ve never heard of it. I haven’t until yesterday.
According to Wikipedia, The Ganges (/ˈɡændʒiːz/ GAN-jeez), also known as Ganga (Hindustani: [ˈɡəŋɡaː]), is a trans-boundary river of Asia which flows through the nations of India and Bangladesh. The 2,525 km (1,569 mi) river rises in the eastern Himalayas in the Indian state of Uttarakhand, and flows south and east through the Gangetic Plain of North India into Bangladesh, where it empties into the Bay of Bengal. It is the third largest river in the world by discharge.
Amongst other things shown by Sue Perkins who did this documentary, the children who relied on this river for survival blew my mind. There is a railway across the river. Passengers usually throw coins into the river to worship the god of the river. Because these kids have no other means for money, they ‘fish’ these coins out using a magnetic device. As I watched them do this, I was expecting them to draw out loads of coins only for me to discover that both boats only drew out 3 coins each after all the hard labour. The dirty river served as their swimming pool and bath.
My heart sank for these kids as I just couldn’t imagine what life looks like for them. I couldn’t put myself in their shoes really because I don’t think I could cope with that. As I was deep in thoughts with what I was seeing, Sue asked these boys what they wanted to do in the future. Their answers brought so much smile to my face. These kids saw further than their present. In the midst of hard life, they could still dream and they believe with everything in them that they can be what they want to be. Their answers speaks hope in the face of adversity. They could see a life they have never known and they believe their lives will be better.
On the other hand, there was another man who was interviewed. This man has been weaving sarees for years using the traditional method which consumes a lot of time and energy. He was asked similar question like the one the kids were asked. He answered differently. Now it’s easy for me to sit on a comfortable sofa, in my warm room, typing away on a smartphone to criticise this guy for the way he replied. The guy has seen a lot in life and I really don’t want to blame him in anyway for the way he is now seeing life. In one of my previous blog post how far can you see? I started off by saying that challenges can make us shortsighted spiritually. However, this doesn’t just apply to our spiritual life. It applies to every area of our lives. This is exactly what has happened to this man. His reply was that he can’t see himself becoming anything better.
Makes me remember the line “become like a child” in the bible.
Become like the little Ganges children who can still see light through the darkness.
Become like the little Ganges children who allow themselves to dream even in broad daylight.
Become like the little Ganges children who are not just dreaming but truly believing in their dreams.
Become like the little Ganges child who can still picture himself as a medical doctor despite he is currently in a boat under the scorching heat of the sun as he relies on pennies thrown to the gods for survival.
Become like the little Ganges children who don’t just dream, aren’t only sure but are bold enough to tell the world that they know things will be better.
It can be difficult to stay hopeful when life is always dishing out something bitter for you. However don’t give up before time. I know life is tough. I know you’ve been under that heat for long. I know you are tired. But you have come too far to give up friend. So long you have life, you can still dream. Open your eyes and dream like those kids. Close your eyes and dream like them. It can be better. Failure isn’t the end. Keep dreaming and keep your hopes alive. Believe that everything will work out for your God according to God’s perfect plan for your life.
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