I’m born into privilege. I have acknowledged this privilege before, and I am grateful for it. Over the past few years especially though, I have been able to get insight into several aspects of life for individuals who have not been as fortunate as I am. Birth is a lottery. You don’t get to decide which household you live in and what circumstances you are born into. You only get to decide what you do in those circumstances – and several times, your circumstances make these decisions for you, making the exercise of free choice tougher, and tougher. Not acknowledging the existence of poverty and the underprivileged is sheer ignorance in today’s era – and frequently, I find myself wondering: what can I do from my position of privilege?
I’m still relatively young and I haven’t figured out an answer to this question yet – but I will, because I’m spending time thinking about it. I don’t think there is a correct answer – but I’d like to figure out an answer that gives me satisfaction. I guess I’d be looking for the satisfaction of knowing that I am using my position of privilege to the best of its capacity – to do as much as I can.
Today, I went to a gurudwara near our house. I’ve been there before to offer my respects, but I’ve never participated in a langar before. A langar is a community kitchen in a Gurudwara which offers free meals without discrimination. While eating, I was silent. I’m usually not a silent eater in crowds. I enjoy having conversation flowing, whether on tables, or at any social settings. But today, I found myself thinking about how some people look forward to this meal the way I do – as an experience, and some people look forward to this meal as subsistence. That shocked me. I don’t know what sparked the train of thought – especially because I’ve always been grateful for the food I get to eat. But it was a moment of great clarity for me. I guess I learned how much more to value food and food security in some sense.
I know I’d like to use my privilege to this end soon. Need to figure out how.