If you travel the same route to office, five days a week, for almost three years, you tend to notice a lot of things. Things that otherwise may not be of much consequence, or might not appear to be important to you, but since we’re humans and wont to observe, feel and act, so this is what we do. There is for instance a certain deliberate inability in our drivers to not let the people on the road sides cross the road, irrespective of the fact that there is or isn’t a zebra crossing, a red light or an overhead bridge for the pedestrians. That urge to let the bystanders pass is almost non-existent. There is the greatest of race going on to jump the red light, utter confusion, overtaking from the wrong side etc etc. But that’s not what this post is about today. Today’s ramble is about the beggar brigade which has taken over the city roads and chowks by the destitute (presumably) who come in all shapes, sizes and sexes to say the least.
And so it happens that now I have come to identify almost all of them urchins that I see on my daily commute, come sunshine, rain or anything.
Being the indecisive spirit that I am, I have been alternating between giving them alms at times and then not giving them anything at all. There are times when sympathy takes over and I am forced to dole out rupees or coins, and then there are times when rational thought takes over forcing me to look the other way. Whether these people deserve to be given or not perhaps needs a deliberate debate which might or might not confuse the best of us. But the fact is these guys know how to do it best. There will be men and women who will display their contorted limbs to get an extra rupee. There will be those who will crawl, limp or stoop physically to get your attention and thus money. Then there’s a particular category who will carry a baby near their bosom, to eke out that extra money from you and me. Be it known, ladies and gentlemen, these professional beggars, they know how to play with your psychology and your nerves. I have seen people giving them monies, hard earned monies, and then there are others who prefer to look the other way. The fact is, these people are a part of our society and will remain as such, like it or not.
The better ones among them, prefer to sell stuff then beg, and most often won’t mind if you give them money without getting anything from them.
My respects for this eunuch, she is impeccably dressed and wears good make up. And I always give her money simply because if you don’t give them transgenders anything, they will be forced to do the un-printable!
I come across this old woman almost daily.
This young guy is not a regular, but he can be seen most days, he’s physically all right but will beg for no reason.
The Baba jee, seems to be an octogenarian, at least. He is quick to move when the light changes from Red to Green.
These two gents are regulars, the one with the green pick up can not walk and sells dusting cloths. The old man walking next to him with good looks doesn’t talk much, he simply holds out his hand in front of you and whether tipped or not will walks away.
So 5 days a week I am faced with a tough decision whether to give or not to give alms. A pragmatic me doesn’t give, the softy me gives; which is kind of rare. The above post is no way aimed at degrading these poor souls. Sometimes I fell they are a victim of circumstances, other times I am forced to think they made their own choice. But the fact is one should be thankful for everything that sh/she has. What’s your take on this? 🙂
6 thoughts on “The Beggar Brigade”
Don’t give them anything. Give money regularly to Edhi, and that way you’re not funding someone’s heroin habit, (that guy in fifth pic is more probably than not a junkie from my experience). I wouldn’t even give money to the eunuch. They could get a job (and just what you fear may happen).
You’re right the ones who are trying to sell you something have the right idea more or less, they’re at least not outright begging.
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“…and *not* just what you fear may happen…”
[Just a small, but vital, correction needed there…]
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Thanks for stopping by and the valuable comment 🙂
I think in such matters we all become somewhat indecisive . When & if I chose to give, it’s the eunuchs who get from me, for the very obvious reason you stated.
And another observation you stated, the @urge to give way to pedestrians”.
These things Cant be taught. We’ve very less to almost zero civic sense!!!!!
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Beggar brigade is rather a curious case. I’ve tried to interact with some of them particularly the disabled & children to understand where they come from, who makes them beg and how do they manage to reach the exact same spot everday but they’re as discreet as professional spies. But that doesn’t stop me from giving most of the time 🙂
i think if they were able to have good life like us they will never come to beg. needs make them beg. 5 or 10 rupees are not a big amount for us , if you spend 100 rupees daily on beggars that will not harm your wealth at all but gives you satisfaction.