~By Tarquin. A few days ago, Ram Lakhan, who mans the gate to the expensive block of flats where we're staying, came to us and asked for help. He said he needed 10,000 rupees, just over $200 because his four year-old son requires an operation. The boy can't speak.
Nearby, looking nervously on, stood a young woman in a simple sari holding a baby; a little boy clung to her legs. This was Ram Lakhan's family, whom he had brought from the village in Uttar Pradesh where they live. It's a day's journey from Delhi. Ram Lakhan cannot afford to house them in Delhi because his salary as a night watchman is 3,000 rupees, just under $60, and the average room costs about 1,200 (he shares his with two other men).
We told Ram Lakhan that we might be willing to help, but in order to do so we would need to talk to the doctor. In the meantime, we gave him 1,000 rupees. Our friends Tim and Alison, who have been visiting, gave him the same amount.