n. pl. dis·par·i·ties
1. The condition or fact of being unequal, as in age, rank, or degree; difference: "narrow the economic disparities among regions and industries" (Courtenay Slater).
2. Unlikeness; incongruity.
I first witnessed a very drastic, almost vulgar, example of disparity when I accompanied Terran to Kenya to spend the summer with my mother.
I am now seeing displays of disparity on a daily basis ... even minute - by - minute.
Sunday we went as a family (how amazingly beautiful it is to be back together as a family again) to brunch in Gurgaon. The drive is about 30 minutes (without traffic) and we were all SO hungry. Champagne on the house, Todd's drink of choice - also on the house. A children's section with appropriate food selections, movies and a play place that was fully staffed for OUR enjoyment. Cook to order lobster, giant prawns (I promise, you have NEVER seen prawns like these), classic Indian food, and other delectable choices ... my eyes were HUGE.
We left satisfied, stuffed to the gills and happy. Just like we *should* be on a Sunday afternoon, right?
Then as we left, we saw this ::
Disparity is something we witness - with all of our five senses - daily.
We drive in an air-conditioned car to and from our outings ... and while we are driven by Kushal, our driver ... we see people walking in the heat of the day with sweat dripping from their brow.
We eat our lunch at the American Embassy Club on cushioned chairs and with an umbrella over our heads ... and then smell the corn roasting on the sidewalk with children lined up to pay a couple of rupees to eat what might be their only meal for the day.
We see the sights with a virtual tour guide (again, Kushal) pointing out the locations of various places ... while a blinded child raps on our window begging for money.
We live in a home that is quite comfortably large - even by American standards - and complain because our household possessions have still not been delivered ... while others just down the street from us are living under ramshack and makeshift tents.
We let the faucet run aimlessly while we brush our teeth and take long showers ... while just behind the kids' school, the water truck delivers water to families that only can take as much as they can carry ... to then last them an entire week.
I remember when we were in Kenya, thinking that I needed to apologize for having been born in the United States. I felt as though I should feel badly for not appreciating all of the things that I have. I remember struggling with the feeling that I was so spoiled and should not take for granted the fortune that I experienced from the day I was born through today. I have every luxury (for the most part) afforded to me without much effort ... and there are so many that struggle with the simple things in life.
I realized though yesterday that I shouldn't feel undeserving of the life that I've been given ... as long as I DO something with it. As long as I use what I have to better the life of another, I do not need to feel that the disparities are so great that they render me simply coddled or pampered. Instead, I hope to choose actions that enrich the life of someone less fortunate.
There are fine things which you mean to do some day, under what you think will be more favorable circumstances. But the only time that is surely yours is the present, hence this is the time to speak the word of appreciation and sympathy, to do the generous deed, to sacrifice self a little more for others. Today is the day in which to express your noblest qualities of mind and heart, to do at least one worthy thing which you have long postponed, and to use your God-given abilities for the enrichment of someone less fortunate. Today you can make your life - significant and worthwhile. The present is yours to do with as you will. ~Grenville Kleiser