When you never went to school or have got no place to call home, you’ve got to make money anyway you can and in India one of the ways families make money is by putting their daughter up on a tightrope and asking her to balance precariously 2 metres above ground with only the concrete below to cushion her impact should she fall.
One of the travelling tightrope families stopped outside my apartment in July 2011, they set up their show by knocking two bloody great big nails in to the road (there are so many potholes any way, two more don’t matter) and then securing a rope to them. As you will see, it’s quite the attraction with everyone stopping to watch for a few minutes before the mother goes around with a dish to collect some money. By my calculations they collect Rs 100 – 150 (about $2.25 – $2.50) each time.
Is it exploitative for the young girl? I don’t know, probably, but she almost certainly doesn’t go to school or get any kind of education and her parents probably can’t get jobs but you’ve still got to survive right? And it certainly beats begging at the traffic lights!