Charles Bridge is probably the most crowded place in Prague. Then there is the Astronomic Clock. No one really knows how it works, but everyone is talking photos and selfies, or on the hour, they take movies when the clock does few bing-bangs. All along Charles Bridge you’ll find musicians playing music, craftsmen/craftswomen selling their stuff and homeless people waiting for few coins. I put them in the same line, because we are so used to them that they have become transparent to our eyes, the same way we don’t notice the painter who has put up a disfigured portrait of Brad Pitt as a proof of his dexterity to catch clients, or the “exotic” cream seller who promises you that all your wrinkles will disappear in no time if you buy his “herbal” cream. As I walk home tonight – home meaning my airbnb studio, I notice one youngish beggar, sitting on his knees bent over with his head on the ground. He was there already in the morning. I think to myself, how can one person stay in this position for almost eight hours? Lately I have noticed that few beggars in Paris have also adopted it. I takes begging to another level, more physically engaged. I continue my stroll and take some cliché pictures, when I notice another guy in the same position. He had dreadlocks and was probably in his mid twenties. His dog was with him, sleeping almost in the same position, except that for a dog that is normal. That is why it is called “dog’s” position in yoga. The guy and the dog had their heads next to each other as if they were talking to each other. Exactly at the moment when I was watching him, the guy took his dog’s paw and kissed it. He kissed that dog so affectionately as if to say, “you’re the only one that I have in this world, thank you for sticking around”.
That image pinched my heart and has been stuck in my head since. I would have so much liked to paint it if only I had inherited a bit from my mom. Maybe I should have asked that Brad Pitt expert to paint it for me. That image talk about loneliness, dependence, loyalty and affection.
I know it sounds cheesy but I get sick every time I see human sufferings like this. In Paris unfortunately you see homeless people and refugees in every ten steps. I feel guilty because I never do anything. Tonight, I didn’t even stop to give this poor guy few freaking coins. And what would that have changed? I am angry because I don’t have the guts to engage myself, to go to talk to them, to try to help them in anyway possible. The most I do is to say hi to the ones I know and give them couple of euros once in a while for their beer. It was ironic that one of them last week asked me when was I going to vacation. I felt that he needed just to chat a bit, but I was too shy. I am so admirative of people who take part and actually help these people.
There is injustice in every corner. To live our little happy life, complain because it rained a bit too much in August, or the food in Czech Republic is not extraordinary is just pathetic. Of course I am talking to myself … For the moment I am drowned in felling guilty. For example, as crazy as it sounds, every time I take a shower I think to all these people who don’t have access to the simplest amenities for a decent life. Everyday when I go to work, I check on the homeless people who sleep in the streets on my bus trajectory. I know exactly who is in which corner. By watching them every morning, I wonder what is the purpose of life? What progress can I possibly do in my lab that might change anything? Maybe one day, I will take a step and do something useful with this feeling of helplessness. It will do me good.