They were three and they took me for a foreigner. They asked for money. I pretended that I did not understand what they said — as usual.
Hiding a polythene bag (of milk) filled with glue in a handkerchief, they were inhaling it– which is more popularly known as dendrite — on the running public bus this afternoon.
The smell was nauseating.
None of the passengers reacted, at least vocally. Or, even if they did, I did not hear. I tried to control my breath, and spit two or three times due to intolerable pungent smell. Gosh! What do they get from it?
One of the guys had a tube of glue and some money in his pocket, which he tried to hide after noticing that I was taking their photograph. When the conductor asked them for the bus fare, they paid without any defiance. (Street kids in Kathmandu are notorious for their anarchic style though.)
While getting off the bus at Airport, one of them left their stuff on the seat. After a few minutes, the leader like big chap came back and collected it. All of them were inhaling glue to get a high on.
Glue-sniffing is rampant among urchins in Kathmandu. Call it peer pressure or imitation or the temptation to feel good from the high, they get into the addiction at a tender age. What is more, the slow poison is easily available in the market and retailers do not hesitate to sell it to the “small-fries” for easy money! I don’t know the number of street kids in the Capital Valley but where ever I go I see them carrying polythene bag or bottle filled with glue and sniffing it. Without knowing the devastating consequences including weight loss, weak immunity and sudden death, they regularly resort to glue-sniffing — probably thinking that they can ward off their hunger, pain, despair and suffering.
Does any body care?
For most of the NGOs, street kids have been a machine to milk money from donors. Or, are they doing something substantial to curb the social evil?
It would be but futile to expect the hapless government doing for the kids who have been considered as political insignificant lots. Cannot we — the responsible citizens — do anything for them?
Turning a blind eye to this may inflict a big loss to the society. There are some sporadic reports that school kids also have “tried” it. Who knows your kids who live with you or under your aegis may one day learn to sniff it from the urchins!