Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Slumdog Brothers

As I was reading an excerpt from Gurcharan Das's new book, "The Difficulty Of Being Good" about the epic battle between two brothers Mukesh and Anil Ambani, it reminded me not only of the battle between Pandavas and Kauravas as written in the article but also two brothers I met during my trip to India. My cousin from US was also visiting and we were looking for a coffee shop in Noida after dinner. As we were wandering around, two kids tried selling us roses maybe assuming we were a couple with the usual punchline, "Bhaiya, Didi ke liye gulab le lo". Instead we went to the MacDonald's, got couple of burgers and called the two of them. I gave the bag of burgers to one of the kid and said, "Yeh tum dono ke liye hain".

As soon as I left the bag, I grabbed it again and told the kid holding the bag that I will take one of the burgers out right now and give it to the younger one, obviously realizing what-if the older one runs away after we are gone leaving the younger one hungry. As I was taking the burger out, the older kid said, "Yeh mera bhai hain, main isee hee doonga". Realizing my dog-eats-dog-world hypothesis, I gave the bag back to the older one but still told him to give the burger infront of me.

Battle of the Kauravas and Pandavas (pic courtesy:

There is a very good chance that the older kid would have given the burger to the younger one even if I had not insisted on it but if the mother of Mukesh and Anil had not intervened, would Mukesh had given Anil's share to him?

Yes, its the dog eats dog world out there but the dogs may not be from the slums every time.