First published at TIF on 11 December 2010. Republished on 14 January 2012 to raise concerns over the issue.
A slight mist hangs all around. A blanket of cold covers each and every corner. The nip in the air has now turned to a chilling bite. Yes, winter is here, and how!
Its the season of gulping down piping hot samosas, beating the chill by drinking gallons of coffee, lazing away under your quilt all day long….. sounds heavenly, doesn’t it?
Well, the sad truth is, that winter might spell paradise for you, but it is nothing short of a living hell for that poor guy who doesn’t have a roof over his head. Roofless, shelterless, helpless.. he is completely unshielded against the wrath of cold. And with no help from any quarters, he eventually dies..no, withers away..
The same story repeats itself over and over every winter. The newspapers are full of stories of how hundreds and thousands die on the streets because of the cold. And almost all of them do not have a roof over their head. The most unsettling part of the whole story is that their number only grows, and not diminishes, every year. This makes me wonder-WHY? Whatever happened to the proposed and the already built “Shelters for homeless”? The ground reality is that half of these are under construction and well behind their deadlines. The other half, although constructed, is hardly inhabitable.
Just think : While you are happily sipping away hot tea sitting comfortably in your blanket, there is some poor soul out there who is fighting the cold.. fighting for his life..without a roof, without clothes.. vulnerable to the cruel cold.. Doesn’t the thought itself make you squirm with discomfort in your warm little corner?
Usually I try to think of some solution, some way around the problem. But this time I’m saddened.. and numb. So instead of me seeking the solution, I want you all to SPEAK UP. To think, think hard and come up with a solution. A way to make the winters a little less torturous for these ill-fated souls..
So between your hot coffee breaks and cosy naps, spare a thought for that poor soul who has to face a long wintry night, without a roof, all by himself.. and think, what can YOU do?