Parched throats and dust smeared bodies seeking food, exhausted and with ceaseless moans “these have become a part and parcel of survival”. The number of casualties is increasing due to privation and starvation. They not only lack basic amenities like food, clothing and shelter but also compassion. The countless have-nots comprising starving, shrivelled skeletal beings are a substantial number in African and under developed countries. There are many poor hands worldwide which forage in garbage to fill empty stomachs.

The lifestyle of the international glitterati in contrast is the other face of the same coin. The number is increasing geometrically as the disparity between those who have and those who don’t widens. While the poor and destitute with their tummies touching their backbones worry about getting food and struggle to cover their naked bodies, the celebs spend lavishly to get themselves skinny, always worrying about reducing their tummies, and enthusiastically busy filling their wardrobes with skimpy attire.

Everybody including the paparazzi is concerned about what the celebrities do, eat and wear. Their sympathies always stay with the posh and the grand and not with the destitutes. The world worried about Victoria Beckham’s weight after she gave birth to her first son, Brooklyn. Her weight has always sparked concern, even now womenfolk take her as a role model to decrease weight. Ladies want their waistline to be like that of Posh Spice (23 inches), the same as same as her seven year old son’s. The fair sex reportedly blew 4,395 Euros in 10 minutes on shoes and Tshirts, recently in Baden-Baden, where the England team was based in Germany for the World Cup football tournament.

When the men were playing football, the WAGS (wives and girl-friends) kept themselves busy. When the English side lost the match to Portugal and it returned empty-handed from the tournament, the WAGS did not. They emptied the designer boutiques of the genteel town. Creations by Dolace and Gabbana, Prada and Versace made their way to their overflowing wardrobes. They stayed at the Brenner’s Park Hotel paying £1,000 per day. The spa town reportedly had never seen anything like it, for the women rang up a bill of thousands of pounds in late-night bars after downing bottles of Moet champagne followed by glasses of vodka and Red Bull.

Baden-Baden was swamped by the arrival of these women with their designer handbags, dresses, shoes etc. It seemed as if they were competing in the fashion stakes while observing who could drink and spend the most. Six of the WAGS, including Posh Spice, and coach Sven Goran Eriksson’s flamboyant girl friend Nancy Dell.Orio, spent 80,000 Euros in one hour in the town’s luxury boutiques. Posh, wife of Beckham (Victoria) seemed content to just “Spend It Like Beckham”.

Like the WAGS, there are many celebrities who spend lavishly. They have a penchant for splurging and get a real adrenalin high from paying for expensive things. Posh Victoria and Paris Hilton reportedly pay upto 1,000 Euros for their hair extensions, and Jennifer Lopez often pays around £ 3000 to get her hair done.

While the jet set was lavishly spending, at the same time the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) had announced a need of nearly $43 million to respond to the needs of women and children in the drought-hit Africa where some 200,000 of about one million children suffer from acute malnutrition. Further, in the torrential rains which caused flash floods in several pastoral areas in Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, Erithrea and Dijibouti, people lost their homes and livelihoods taking the malnutrition levels far beyond the thresholds of emergency. Even if celebrities decide to donate one day’s worth of their lavish spending on organisations struggling to succour women and children, they can definitely bring new hope to the needy. The amount spent on a single designer dress or a handbag can really mean a lot to the destitute in need of food and shelter. Even if celebrities don’t guzzle for a single day and donate the same amount to a cause, many starvation deaths can be prevented.

India is facing the problem of a wide gap between the haves and have nots. While people who lavishly spend at one end form the minority, the poor and middle class families constitute the major chunk of the population. Many people complete their life cycle by a mere dream of having basic amenities. There are many middle-class families who eagerly wait for the salary and save like ants to fulfil their long cherished wish and are yet unable to realise it. Countries like India would have been in a better position had they received a helping hand from such celebrities.

Though the wide gap between the “haves and have-nots” cannot be narrowed, an attempt should be made to give the basic necessities of food, shelter and clothing to the deprived by those who can afford to do so.

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