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For Granted….

February 17, 2009

I will never again take for granted a roof over my head – no matter how small that roof might be………






22 Comments leave one →
  1. February 28, 2009 5:47 pm

    @ CanIRemainUnknownPl – I know about veterans coming home and not being able to adjust. That’s what inspired Rambo. There was a very interesting report in the papers today about how Obama intends to change almost 30 years of Raegan’s economic policies, start taxing the rich more, to reduce the gap between the rich and the poor, make sweeping changes to the healthcare system etc etc. I say more power to him. With the kind of money that America makes, healthcare should be free. It’s the only developed country which doesn’t have free government healthcare.

  2. Sharmishtha permalink
    February 24, 2009 8:40 pm

    Ke, sorry for the delay in replying. Just got back to AR2W’s blog. Yes, they do have schemes for housing the working poor in India. The best known one is the Indira Awas Yojana (you can google it) which targets Scheduled Castes and Tribes and non-SC/ST’s below the poverty line for low cost housing grants and loans. The results have been mixed. For one thing, the projected targets always fall short. Some of this is because the bureaucratic wheels grind slowly which drives up the cost of construction and so the building of houses gets more expensive for the person concerned. Second, the schemes seem to be targetted at the rural poor which leaves the vast majority of urban poor unaffected. There are slum resettlement efforts but these too are not entirely satisfactory. The real estate value of the slums’ land is often far greater than the resettlement areas’. Also, the commuting distance increases for the workers and so they prefer to live in a shack within cycling or walking distance to work rather than a bus ride from work. Think 40 degrees celsius, a crowded bus, and which would you prefer? But besides comfort, cost is a great disincentive. For many of these people, a Rs. 6 round trip fare would be serious inroads into their margins of income.

  3. February 24, 2009 4:50 pm

    In Delhi, more so than in most Indian cities, you’ll find a lot of everything. All standards of living. From the people sleeping on streets/shanties/huts to palaces. There is ofcourse, immense poverty and I know what you would feel when you see such places (as in your pictures). But to Indians in India, it is their everyday life and they do not even notice it.

  4. February 24, 2009 12:17 am

    Can I – it’s so interesting how the differences overlap the similarities. Welcome back.

  5. CanIRemainUnknownPl permalink
    February 23, 2009 7:11 pm

    Yes, Deep unlike India the Military veterans in US do not receive enough to sustain themselves for the rest of their lives. This definetly doesn’t mean that the country is ungrateful of the service, as a matter of fact veterans are given much more respect here in US than in India. But the whole society is a little bit more individualistic, its everyman for himself here. So when you come back from combat and realise that life has moved on and you have difficulty fitting into the civil society, some unfortunate veterans do slip through cracks and end up on the street or do drugs.
    There is absolutely no comparison of the material wealth of the two countries, as an Indian I do feel bad when someone points out the poverty but the fact remains that we have seen such scenes as shown in the pics above every single day of our lives.
    All we have to remember is great nations are made of great people and not great wealth! and India has achieved alot in the 60 years since independence, most other countries have been independent for centuries now and have mature systems.

  6. February 20, 2009 6:14 pm


    Don’t they have low cost housing in india for the working poor?

  7. February 19, 2009 1:34 pm

    Military veterans homeless?? That’s really sad. Don’t you have veterans programmes and stuff? I mean what about all that “leave no man behind” stuff?

  8. February 19, 2009 1:26 am

    Loco – sadly you are very right.

  9. February 18, 2009 9:08 pm

    Deep – homelessness is probably universal – if the people had other means they would take advantage of them – abandoned is abandoned, unfortunately, the homeless in America really have no protections – there are some shelters but many choose not to use them or they simply don’t have enough for everyone. Especially in Washington, DC, many of the homeless are military veterans or mental patients who can no longer pay for their care. It is not good no matter how you slice it.

  10. February 18, 2009 8:21 pm

    Taking things for the granted is one of the biggest mistakes we nake as humans and unfortunately it’s difficult to unlearn…but living in a place like India will definitely do wonders. Back in NY…well, put it this way, if you had said some of those pictures were taken in NY I wouldn’t have questioned it at all.


  11. February 18, 2009 11:48 am

    @lola – hmm…yeah…but atleast you guys have like social security and stuff. In Canada the government covers all medical expenses, so that must take some of the edge off.

  12. February 18, 2009 11:30 am

    If you hang around Boston long enough, you see a lot of homeless living under cardboard and newspapers. They’re not hidden all that well in Boston. Obviously, other parts of the world have it so much worse as a whole, but homeless is homeless, and anyone who is not really should be grateful.

  13. Tottsmom permalink
    February 18, 2009 11:21 am

    “sad to say” not said to say

  14. Tottsmom permalink
    February 18, 2009 11:20 am

    We do have homelessness in America, but it seems to be the current way of things to mostly ignore the issue. Or better yet, hide it. I live in Las Vegas, and it is a big problem here but you would never know it by driving down your average street. Our criminals in our prisons live better than any homeless person. Even those housed in tents in Arizona
    The point is that we don’t often see the problem as much as ARTW gets to in her new life in India. It is said to say but “out of sight out of mind”.

  15. February 18, 2009 9:23 am

    Sharmishtha – I have mostly only been able to take pictures from the car window so far – hard to do when the car is often moving – so I have missed some other opportunities. I have seen some of those poor souls living in worse conditions – it is hard to fathom. And even harder to explain. These photos will make most Americans extremely thankful – even if it is not the worst of the worst. Thanks for the details – I am glad to know what the pictures are of.

  16. Sharmishtha permalink
    February 18, 2009 7:29 am

    There are a lot of shanty towns but the photos you took seem to be of the working poor. You have to be in India a longer time to tell the difference between the really destitute and those managing to survive and to work. The first picture is of a farmer’s haystack and cowdung collection. The second, third and fourth photos seem to be of some sort of repair shops. The third one seems to be a of a construction worker’s shack (they usually pitch their huts close to the building site) and the fifth one – well, again it looks like construction workers, many of whom do live on the job site. Not the Ritz, but they are eating. If you really want to be thankful for your good fortune, go see some the shantytowns of illegal Bangladeshi immigrants in the Nizamuddin area, under the flyovers, etc. Now, they are really the wreched of the earth – no money, no future, no acceptance by the host society as they are illegals. It makes it worse to think that they are probably better off in Delhi than they were in Bangladesh.

  17. February 18, 2009 5:40 am

    Tushar – I love the look of that one – India has something interesting at every turn.

    Deep – you will be very glad you did.

  18. February 18, 2009 4:57 am

    I have wanted to go for a very long time, I don’t know when I will, but someday…

  19. Tushar permalink
    February 18, 2009 3:57 am

    hey, the first pic is not of some shack, its actually a mound made up of dung cakes. the rural folk burn these dung cakes to give energy.

  20. February 18, 2009 3:00 am

    Grace – south africa must have been a trip of a lifetime – you’ll have to blog about those adventures – maybe you have – I will check

    Deep – we certainly do – more than our share – but they just are not as visible and there just aren’t the sheer number of people as in India or Delhi – America is more spread out (for the most part) and much cleaner – some Indians describe America as a lot of little ghost towns – it’s very hard to explain the difference – but the next time I go back I will take pictures to show the contrast and if you ever get the chance to go – you absolutely should. People stay in their lanes when driving, animals are not in the road or on the side of the road, the poorest areas are places most people never really see, bikers stay on bike paths with helmets on and you would never see young children on a motorcycle with no helmet or women sitting side saddle. It is just so amazingly different. It really is.

  21. February 18, 2009 2:53 am

    but you have homeless people back where you come from too I guess?

  22. February 18, 2009 1:05 am

    Yeah, I learned that lesson in South Africa.

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