One class of people that can never leave this country is ‘beggars’. On streets, traffic signals, subways, railway stations, temples, outside offices, or any unspecified area, you will find them almost everywhere. For a while they were sort of eradicated from Delhi. Oh sorry, not eradicated rather ‘relocated’ from Delhi to NCR. They had this so called ‘temporary residence’ permit. And who else can be the true claimer for brownie points – the much hyped CWG!!
I personally do not sympathize with them and do not appreciate giving them ‘money’ either. It annoys me when people do so and encourage those poor people, when they know what the truth is, which has been creditably propagandized in Slumdog Millionaire. But we are humans, and compassion is natural. I also do give. But I prefer only feeding the needy. That’s what they are deprived of. Hunger is one of the major forces that rule the individual’s instinct for self-preservation.
So my story is that one evening, around 4:00 PM, I was out with a colleague for a regular tea-break. We bought our cup of tea and walked toward the lane in front of the building. As we were strolling, a small girl of age 5-6 years came up to me. She was wearing a shabby frock, her hair were unkempt, in all a very untidy look. I could not ignore since she was pulling my kurta and had to unwillingly answer in a rude tone (which I am guilty of). She was asking for money and I denied. Now she was persistent on taking something from me. Then she pointed her little finger to the cup I was holding. I agreed to it and said I will buy her a fresh cup of tea or something to munch. She apparently refused and insisted on taking my cup only. By chance, I had not even taken a sip of it. So I readily gave it to her. She held the cup in her tiny fingers and walked away. She went to a corner, sat on her knees and sipped the tea. It was a treat watching her. What I felt that time is something I can’t explain in words… She was looking very sweet. It literally moved me.
While walking back to office, I smiled at her and waved bye. She didn’t smile back but now she was staring at my sandals. And I was like, ‘oh, not my sandals honey! They are my favorite ones and I can’t walk bare feet in office’. J
But I learnt something that day – If you can’t feed a hundred people, then just feed one.