Today is ‘Makar Sankranti’ – the winter harvest festival. In Varanasi it is traditionally celebrated by taking a soak in the river Ganges, flying kites, making donations to the poor and cooking a particular type of dish called ‘khichdi’ for lunch. An integral part of the celebrations for a lot of people is a glass of cannabis enriched sweet milk in the morning. In this city cannabis use is legal and shops selling the drinks can be found on the roadside like any other shops selling clothes, shoes or bottled water.
As I walked down the street this morning distributing packets of biscuits to the street kids, I saw this light in their eyes – a sharpness that comes from the will to live, the instinct to survive despite all odds stacked up against them. The contrast just hit me in the face – these kids had nothing yet they wanted to live at any cost. In comparison, young people in other parts of the world have a lot more and yet, so often don’t find life worth living.
How does that come about?