Friday, August 1, 2008

Isnt it cruel to be kind?

Last Saturday I had to drop my kids at a party for one of their friends. What struck me as really funny was the venue of the party was a church. Apparently it was a two pronged party. Part of the party was for the kids of slums and part of the party was for the birthday girls friends. Something else which struck me as funny was the fact that the girl was not supposed to get any birthday presents. Instead we were given a book list and asked to gift wrap it and bring it.
Well I went to drop my kids and the first thing I saw really made me uncomfortable. The party was set up in the church garden so everybody could see what was happening from the road. It was quite a nice party. There was a big bouncer as well as some Barbi princess stuff strewn around. What was sickening was there was a large bunch of poor kids standing outside the gate looking in. A stern looking man at the gate letting only a few in. As my children stepped out of the vehicle they had to make their way through the crowd to enter the party. It was heart unwrenching to see a little boy trying to slip in along with my kids and the stern man refusing entry. The look of anticipation and disappointment in that child's face could make me cry.
I wished for a couple of minutes that I could not have dropped my kids at the party and taken them back home with me. But they would be very upset as they would think this is another instance of their father behaving like a brute.
Later I had to pick them up. And again was greeted by the hoards of poor people at the gate. Once again I saw a heart wrenching site which was a poor kid eating a pastry from outside the fence which I believe someone would have given him.
Anyway I was thinking about this entire thing. These parent who did this act thought they were doing a good deed by being nice to poor people. But personally I think keeping some in and some out was a very cruel thing to do. Also to do flaunt everything in the garden in the front of their hungry eyes was something I found very distasteful There is another side to this. What little girl would not want birthday presents however rich they are. Apparently my wife was telling me this birthday girl has told her that she would like to have presents too. Somehow I also have a suspicion that this public act of charity was another way of showing off for these parents. The kids were supposed to not mingle with the poor kids. The first half of the party the poor kids were to play on the bouncer and the second half the rich kids were supposed to do so. Well knowing kids and how they get attracted to rides I just don't know how they managed to do it. Anyway I was really getting hot under the collar about all this when I saw a little girl. Obviously a poor kids walking home with her mom. In her hands she clutched a big present and she was excited and jabbering away to her mom and smiling happily. And I realised amidst all this bullshit at least the world of one little girl has changed and that itself was a good thing.