“Shabji…do din se kuch nahin khaya…bhook lagi hai”. Walk out onto the streets and most certainly a homeless tramp would utter this to you. An age-old preset line used by every beggar, not surprising really, it still works! It did on me too yesterday evening when I walked out of a cellphone showroom. Well, I may be an exception to this, as I usually give away atleast a rupee to them. Possibly so that they stop annoying me or just because I cannot see someone in poor state. Yes, I am still learning to be a beggar ignorant, a skill that most metropolitan people have mastered. Anyway, a few bucks away and I am not broke. So I don’t really mind.
So this eight or nine year old poor kid finds me (they all always do! :( ). It sometimes amuses me, how beggars find their catch, is it just randomly? If so may be I am their random favourite who does not usually disappoint them. I am just too bad at ignoring beggars. Especially when I walk out from one of my city’s premium restaurants (where I just paid a huge overhead for the food and yet left a few bucks as a tip to a salaried guy waiting there). Then why not a few bucks to the beggar who spot me on while entering, and waited all while till I was out so that he can get a few bucks. It’s very interesting how these beggars spot their catch (rock-hearted to say so… I am just learning to be). A couple sitting on a beachside (you think that guy with a fat wallet would refuse in front of his fiancee?), a mom with her kid who gave them a glance (Bet me! She gonna give a rupee in her kid’s hand and ask to handover, thinking that she taught some good values)… But then why me?!!! Or may be as I said, I just might be their random favourite.
Anyways, realising that I would not be able to avoid this eight year old boy, who already begged to me twice by now, my hand reached out to my wallet. To disappointment (mine) and joy (of the beggar) I didn’t have any coins. Have you ever tried asking a beggar for change? So picked the lowest denomination note I had…5 Rs. And a thought just crossed my mind… what if the boy gets a sutta with this, or if his step-dad or step-mom snatches away the note from him? (Yo… Bollywood movies taught me this!). Well whatever… so I looked around and spotted a mithai shop near by. Asked the boy to follow me and of what he wanted.
He went up to the shopkeeper, who started swearing at him (didn’t take me much time to realise that he was a regular window shopper there). So this boy asked for a Lays chips packet. And I was like…what the heck! This 2 days hungry (God knows what he ate last!) poor boy who almost looked like malnutritioned wants a chips packet thats filled with more air than food? Or probably he would never have tried it out if not for me, so I let him have it. I kept a 5 rupees note right across the shopkeeper’s galla (he looked somewhat surprised and probably also offered a little more respect to the poor boy now). And the boy smiled at me…certainly one which I won’t forget for long. I don’t know if he could connect with me, but he ordered two samosas instead of the chips packet. In a moment, a couple of his friends turned up. I don’t know how they figured out that I was not gonna shell out more money, so didn’t bother me. I turned and left from there, didn’t bother to look back as to what the boy did with those samosas. I had done my job…
(If from this post, I look to be a very generous person… just hoping that beggars don’t read blogs! :P )