Wikipedia defines a home as a permanent or semi-permanent space or domicile where families live. It can be fully or semi-sheltered and can have exterior and internal aspects to it. But a “home” is more than space, and it is more than a structure. It’s a place where friends and families live and grow together. It is a place where you share laughter and tears in–hopefully–equal measure.
We all know that some of us have homes that are grand, and others have homes that are not. Second, we all know that inequality is rising in the world–or do we? Third, we all know that the price of buying a home is rising. This is something we know because it affects all of us.
Yet, we all stay in decent apartments–or houses–and wish we had something grander. Yes, we all wish we could have more. Why are homes important? They give us a sense of security and belonging. This is where the basic family unit lives together, and where we get our values?
When you are looking for a job, your home address becomes important. But when you lose your home, like refugees, or someone who can’t afford anything, everything changes. You don’t get jobs easily, nor do you get identification papers, nor do you get medical or other benefits. In short, life is tough, and you scramble from a blow to another blow.
Recently, I was in the market and needed to pee. It was urgent, and luckily, the market had a good public toilet. So I ran in, trying to look as dignified as possible, all the time hoping my bladder would not betray me and burst.
Thankfully, it didn’t.
After a sigh of relief, I turned and saw this man sleeping in the public toilet. A woman and her kids sat at the entrance and the mother watched her children play. As I was shooting the man with my mobile phone, many questions raced through my brain.
Questions pertaining to homelessness, and desperation, and social inequality, and privacy. We all deserve and want privacy, and we fight for it? But what about homeless people? Don’t they deserve privacy?
This man didn’t look like a person who was, or had been, a beggar. If this is true, what circumstances drove him to sleep in a public toilet? Even if he is a municipal worker, why would he choose a public toilet to sleep in?
What is his story?
And what about social inequality?
Sadly, I don’t have any answers to these questions, and I doubt I ever will.
I shot this image with my mobile phone and edited it with Snapseed. The phone is a OnePlus 6T