Monday, August 06, 2007

A Delusion ?

He was around 11-12 years old. Dark in complexion, big black sad eyes, beautiful and innocent face, unkempt hair. Wearing an unbuttoned crumpled checked shirt and a half pant, he came close to me and mumbled something.

It was raining heavily at around 11 that Sunday night. We, three of us, were waiting at Bandra station for a local train to take us home. We had avoided the car mainly for three reasons – heavy rains, night time and Mumbai roads. The electronic board on the platform was showing the arrival time of next train as 11:06 PM.

As I was busy speaking, I could not notice him at first. He raised his voice a little more without touching or poking me, contrasting to what generally kids of his likes do. I looked back at him. With tearful eyes and almost crying face he requested “Ek biscuit khila do na wahaN se (Please buy me a biscuit from there)” pointing to the kiosk nearby.

For the first time in my life someone who looked like a beggar, had not asked me any money; instead he had asked for food.
I, as a principle, never give a single penny to beggars even if they are old or standing in front of a temple. Begging is something I strongly disapprove of, but when I saw that boy’s sad and hungry face I immediately decided to buy him food. To me, it was a request and not a begging.

I have heard of many begging rackets where they force young children to beg for money and at the end of everyday torture them mercilessly if they have not collected the required minimum amount. As I was moving towards the kiosk with him, flurry of thoughts started bothering me.. was he one of them ? Had he collected enough for the day ? What punishment he gets when he doesn’t ?

The kiosk had many varieties of snacks .. from biscuits to vada pav, pakoda’s, buns, muffins, Lays, some cool drinks/slush and tea. He guided me to a side where biscuits were sold. But I wanted to buy him a full meal instead of just a small packet of biscuit. I asked him “Why not something heavy to eat, why do you want to have only a biscuit ?”.

Very hesitantly, he agreed for a chai (tea) & a small paav (bun). Nothing more than that. Perhaps his stomach had resized itself with the very little he used to get daily.

When I was opening my purse to pay for it, he stretched his hand and out came a Rupee one coin which he kept on the counter. “Ye ek he rupiya hai mere paas, baki ka tum de do (I have only this one rupee, you pay the rest)”. I told him to keep it with him and paid the full amount. I was touched by this little lad’s self-respect.
By the time I could get the balance amount back from the shopkeeper, the boy had taken away the chai & paav to a corner near the shop without me noticing it.

I came back to my place. It seemed the train was going to be late by a few minutes. It was still raining and the weather had turned a bit chilled. I could not resist myself to have a glimpse of that boy. I turned and glanced. There he was in a corner, gulping down a cold paav with a hot cup of chai. He looked very hungry. I did not want to invade his privacy of satisfactorily eating a meal but before I could turn my back to him, he caught me glance. A very pure and genuine smile came to his face and from that distance he gestured in a “Thank you”.

I smiled. My day was made.

As the train rolled into the station, I looked for him again. There was something very intriguing to him that kept me doing that. We got in, our train started to move; I searched for him on the platform.

And there I saw him performing once again the same ritual to a group of four students in the age group of 20-22 years. Again.

What was it ?

Was it a habit or was he still hungry ? If yes, then why he refused to take something more from me ? Was he shy or was it self-respect ? Was it a necessity for him, an illusion for me ?

While the train rumbled through, I rambled on my insane thoughts.

Current song- Mera Kuch Saamaan Tumhare Paas Pada Hai – Asha Bhosale
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74 comments:

SiD said...

wow.. that was interesting...
I am too against giving alms to beggars...The last time I gave was when in a long train journey, a young lad came and cleaned up the mess - all the peanut chilkas etc.. i dont know why i gave it.. but felt satisfied for having given it. telling myself that he had earned it..
in ur case, he again asking some one else - i think he was hungry and wanted a limited favor from u....i mean that's what i think... will never know the truth.. will we??

bEAST said...

Finally the Cuckoo comes up with something to post :)
I guess I have always known about the begging rackets, and yet somehow been unable to restrain myself from giving them money. But I only give it to small children or old beggars. Beggars capable of working dont receive anything but questions. One such time a 20-25 years aged beggar walked up to me on a traffic light and asked for money. I politely asked him "You are aged enough, and I dont think you are handicapped either. Why should I give you money? Why dont you work for it?" to which he very rudely replied "Yeh kaam nahi hai kya. Paisa dena hai to do, faltu ka dimaag mat chato! (Is this not work. If you wanna give money then do so, dont eat my head!)"
Now the reaction was shocking and I certainly didnt give him anything. But then I never questioned a beggar again! :)

Priyank said...

Cuckoo, nice post.

From the stuff he did (not poking at you, asking for food rather than money, offering to pay one rupee and then thanking you), I am, just as you are, convinced that he was genuine. So, I'd give the boy a benefit of doubt. Maybe he was hungry for a very long time and lets admit it, a bread and cup of tea is just barely enough. He didn't want to be indebted from you more than that!

In any case Cuckoo, the bottom line is that you did a angelic action by feeding a hungry stomach rather than giving him money... I think I know that feeling.

cheers

maverick said...

I agree with priyank, in this over cynical world, lets atleast keep the bare minimal things simple. If tht was genuine, u've fed a hungry stomach and believe me thts the greatest thing in d world (now tht iam on a diet i knw :) ), otherwise u r just another one fooled by him, which looks so unimportant when compared to the first one.

There's another type of begging, when i came to India this december, a person (of about my same age ) came to me saying tht he had lost his purse and had to go somewhere. He worked in TCS n was abt to go onsite. He talked like a techie and said me if i dont believe him, I might as well come to the near by bust stop to buy him the bus ticket. I believed him n gave him Rs.400, he took my e-mail, phone n said he'll repay me, but he never got back.

This is similar to ur experience, only in a larger scale.think i shd blog it too sometime.

Nabeel said...

well it's a tough debate, i.e. to give or not to give to the beggars. Many kids are amputated just for beggary. It all depends when it comes to food. If i am in a restaurant, I will buy 'em food. If i see a very old person, not able to take care of themselves, I have no problem giving them money. What they do with it in the end, is their business (drugs many be) but that's the case with younger ones.

Dust Unsettled said...

Good work Cuckoo - both at the railway station and then at this post...

Somebody begging for food is in real danger of starvation and it is so very noble to save them... It must have been his self-respect which disallowed him to ask for more from you...

Abhijit said...

Very nice post, Cuckoo! You wrote,"Perhaps his stomach had resized itself with the very little he used to get daily."... That was really touching!!

What I want to say is you did help his "request" genuinely. That's how it should be. Hunger is such a thing that makes a person do anything to fulfill it. I am happy that God really tested you, and you passed with distinction! :-) Keep up the humanity...

sAg_NiK said...

#cuckoo:very touching post :-))))

But that's what common thing in our society,specially in trin-platforms :-(

But can u imagine when these lil' boys/girls eat from dustbin??
*sigh*
i stopped eating frm certain 'kachudi stall'for that reason...it makes me ashame to eat those spicy things in front of these eyes,hungry eyes :-(

Ranjeet said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ranjeet said...

Nice post Cuckoo!
I am glad you decided to help him out! Life throws us so many questions at the end of our actions, doesn't it?
I also experienced a similar situation some years back at Churchgate- One educated looking fellow came to me and said in fluent English that he is from Chennai and has been robbed of all his money. He said that he needd money to buy ticket to go to Chennai - even gave me his home number in Chennai - I decided to try it out - I called up on the Channai number with him but no one picked up the phone. Finally I gave him money for the ticket. After 5 minutes, while I was returning back in a bus, I saw on him on the other side of the road getting into a taxi! I was clearly conned !!!

Peter said...

I feel that your wonderfully told story well reflects what we mostly feel in front of a beggar!

The situation in Paris is of course not quite the same, but we have also this kind of "industrial begging" where the beggars are real victims and hardly keep anything of their "income".

I have a permanent fight with myself, whether I should give anything or not; sometimes I don't, but sometimes I do. I try to go on a "feeling", but I guess I'm mostly cheated.

Then, there are other types of begging that I prefer: Some persons offer some kind of service and in some cases thay do it well and then I think it's OK to give something (e.g. helping you to fill your bags, taking care of the caddie at the supermarket...). ... and then you have the metro music performers - they are often good, sometimes young and not yet "established" as artists; then I'm happy to listen to them for a while and give something!

Prax said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sam said...

This is such a dicey situation.
Plot 1: Genuine need - The kid's hunger was genuine. And teh reason he settled for very less is may be his self respect, which makes me wonder about his real background??

Plot 2: Con-kid - This one breaks the heart to be honest. The kid realises after sometime that asking for money would get him less, so instead plead for something to eat... a lil bit that's all.. and from people who it would seem will get moved by his pleading.. after all, everyone of us would rather buy them a sandwich than give them a rupee!!

Either way Cuckoo, you did a good job... a good turn and sleep well over it! The more you think about the why of his repeat act or his unusual "demand" and the way he asked for it... the more you'd start having doubts!! You said - "I smiled. My day was made. " Stick to that thought!! A good turn will always come back!!
Stop thinking on this!!

And I think, it is the same night you went for the play "Carry On Heaven".

Cheerio!!

Leziblogger said...

Good stories give answers, better stories raise questions!( I don't mean story as a ficitonal account here!)

Very well written!

You seem to very intrigued by Human behaviour. [I have seen quite a few posts on these lines.]Same here, just that I am intrigued more by the organisational behaviour! May be some day, we could exchange notes!

Vaidya said...

Nice post.. Your deed appreciated!!!
Do not get into thought process as you did what you felt right that moment.
So just feel happy irrespective of illusion dwelling in your mind :)

Pyare Mohan said...

Hi, nice post... my idea of developing chapters from a book can begin from here! If someone continues the story, with a different character... i will take up the initiative.. will post a story as a continuation from this one...

Cuckoo said...

SiD,
he was hungry and wanted a limited favor from u.... I also would want to think that. :)

And in your case where you gave money for cleaning up the mess.. yes, he had earned it. And I think we should always encourage them. Not everybody gets a proper job like you & me and if they are trying to keep their self-respect up, what’s the harm in supporting them ?
But without work.. no money from me. Not even to those nursing ladies who have a newborn with them. I have been cheated innumerable no. of times.

Cuckoo said...

Beast,
I have been conned many times before I decided not to give any single paisa to anyone.

Ha Ha.. that beggar of yours ! It has happened with me too ! But I didn’t expect a guy to face that. Females are ok, they are always shouted upon for some reason or the other by everyone. Now don’t think I approve of this.

I have some more similar incidents, I’ll post them sometime.

Cuckoo said...

Priyank,
Thank you.
I am, just as you are, convinced that he was genuine… Yes, I would want to assume that.

Life teaches us so many things and scares us also for what to believe and what not.
I was amazed at his self-respect and honesty (??) at that tender age. We grown ups are not able to sustain that.

Thanks for understanding. Much appreciated. :) I think next time when I go there, my eyes would definitely search for him. An unforgettable face.

ashes said...

Nice post Cuckoo.

Was it a habit or was he still hungry ? Maybe he was still hungry. Or, he had believed his stomach had resized itself with the very little he used to get daily whereas actually it had not, and your chai and paav worked as appetizers, and he was perhaps shy and self respecting enough to ask you again when he declined your offer for more earlier.

I had a somewhat similar experience, where I did not buy a child what he wanted and regretted later. Shall publish a post on that soon.

Cuckoo said...

Maverick,
Yes, I just want to believe that he was a genuine person.

And you too became a victim ? LOlz.. A very similar incident happened with me in Singapore and that man was of Asian origin… either Indian or Pakistani. They are very clever and ..
Ok, I’ll write about it sometime. Just remind me. It is worth a post. :) It was even at a larger scale than yours. ;)

BTW, how’s your dieting going on ?? Once a week chicken will not do any harm. Switch to fish if you like it. And remember, you have tendency to put on weight.

Cheers !!

Cuckoo said...

Nabeel,
it's a tough debate to give or not to give to the beggars… Yes, it is a tough decision indeed. But after being conned many times I have decided on this.
I’ll give only when a person really deserves it or in dire help situation like in my case… not to anyone who come in hordes behind your cars at every crossing.

Keep coming and say my hello to Nahal.

Cuckoo said...

Dust Unsettled,
Thank you very much. I too felt very satisfied after doing it.
I kept on thinking about him. An unforgettable face. At this tender age, he was teaching big things to us grown ups. If he is so very self-respected person, I want to enroll him for his schooling if he is willing to study.

Cuckoo said...

Abhijit,
Thank you for understanding my thoughts and encouraging me so much.

What I think is we waste so much money on our so called leisure/fun activities and we ignore or pretend to ignore these realities of some needy ones.

you passed with distinction!.. And now, you don’t make me go up the ‘chana ka jhaad’ please.

Thank you once again and I mean it.

Cuckoo said...

Sag_Nik,
Thank you very much for liking the post, I write it the way thoughts come to my mind.

Oh yeah, that’s a very pathetic scene to see someone eating out from the dustbins. We should be ashamed of it actually. Very true.

Cuckoo said...

Ranjeet,
Thank you very much. I felt very satisfied after doing it.
Aah ! so you have been a victim as well ? Read up Maverick’s experience. I too had been a victim many times. Will write more about it later. Now, I am tempted to do it. ;)

Thanks for coming. Keep floating. ;)

Cuckoo said...

Peter,
Thank you very much. You always encourage me in more than one way. Much appreciated.

Yes, the ‘industrial begging’ is the begging racket I was talking about.

I have a permanent fight with myself, whether I should give anything or not;.. I had this internal fight or dilemma many times until I decided one day that it is enough for me now.

The service related beggars is even better than just being beggars. They at least try to do something for their living unlike some others. Read Beast's comment above. It had happened with me as well.

Yes, the music performers are very popular in Europe. Have seen plenty of times. I won't call it begging. They have the talent for which they try to earn a livelihood. Not all get a proper job like you & me. Am I right ?
But this musical thing is not known in India. I wish someone start it and entertain people and earn something out of it.

Peter said...

I read Beast's comments. I have so far not had this experience; maybe if I had, I would be less in the dilemma situation.

So, maybe a new fashion to introduce in India; more musical performers in the street and anywhere? Some of our today wellknown artists have actually started like this and, from what I understand, some of the "metro artists" gain very well their living (and many of them are clearly worth it)!

As I have already said, I really like your blog. There is always something interesting ongoing!

Fleiger said...

Given that he was asking for food and not money, I would think that he didn't want to take too much from a single person.

Or at least, I would like to think so...

Cuckoo said...

Sam,
Yes, I would like to think that he was a genuine lad and whoever he was, he HAD a character unlike others. Sometimes these small kids are better than us; they teach us so many things. Read Beast’s comment up… aisa bhi hota hai. That had happened with me as well.

Either way Cuckoo, you did a good job... Thank you very much. I felt very satisfied after that.

Yes, it was the same night I went for the play. I think next time when I go there, my eyes would search for that boy. I want to do something for him assuming that he was a good person.

Cuckoo said...

Lazy,
Thank you for the appreciation, I write it as the thoughts flow in my mind. :)

Ha Ha.. yes, in spite of me being a technical person I am very much intrigued by Human behaviour. But must say, I never noticed it earlier. ;)

Oh yes, it would be fun to exchange notes ! I would like to see some posts on Human behaviour on your blog.

And btw, be ready (it is caution), some tags might come your way. I have quite a few pending ones. ;)

Cuckoo said...

Vaidya,
Thank you for the appreciation, at that moment I did what I felt was right and am very happy about it.
I would like to think that he was a genuine boy and next time when I go there, I know my eyes would definitely search for him.

Keep coming and keep smiling. :)

Cuckoo said...

PM,
Thank you, oh great story teller !
Your idea about a book is good but the people are wary to attempt it. We feel we are all newborns compared to you. You can read all the comments in the Review post of “Passing the Sentence”… especially of Peter, Vaidya, Maverick and Ashes’s.
Some say it will have a blend of different writing skills and flow of thoughts. The total "book" would not be very homogeneous, they'll have to wait for the other person to finish it, some might take more time and the issue of editing, copyright etc. ;)

Can I suggest something here ? Why don't you write a small post about how you feel we can go about it, just to convince the people ? You can either send me across the post and I'll publish here
or
you post it on your blog and I'll link it here. BTW, the idea is good and unique. :)

Cuckoo said...

Ashutosh,
Thank you for liking the post.

he was perhaps shy and self respecting enough to ask you again when he declined your offer for more earlier… Even I would like to think on those lines and my respect for him goes further up My heart just doesn’t allow me to think that I was conned. He had something very genuine on his face and I know next time when I go there, my eyes would definitely search for him.

Waiting for your post, will try to link here.

Keep coming. :)

Cuckoo said...

Peter,
First, Thank you once again. *Cuckoo bows down*

Yes, many artists have started like that. It is only their bad luck that they don’t get a chance or a platform in the beginning to show their talents.

Fleiger,
Or at least, I would like to think so... Same here. My heart just doesn’t allow me to think that I was conned.

Keshi said...

he only asked for food...thats so genuine...

off topic: Cuckoo where is David's other blog where u commented abt me? plz give me the link. tnxx!

Keshi.

Aditi said...

hey.. sorry for the delay
i was at churchgate last year with a friend.. and this raggedy kid came and said the same thing.. dont give me money buy me food...
later since i was waiting for someone i was there a while.. i saw him return the vadapav to the vendor get the cash and pull the same stunt on someone else...
learned a huge lesson that day

Pijush said...

Cuckoo, Very well written, nice work. Now you can start writing some epics.
I guess begging is a habit, turns into addiction after few days. So, the same happened in this case. But your offer was something which the boy could not expect, which is why he felt uncomfortable.

Last year when I was in Puri with my family, I came across one Muslim riksa puller, whose son was in critical condition after an accident, was very helpless and puzzled. He asked me 10rs more for treatment and Doctor Fees (though it was not enough, needed almost thousand). He was hungry and vomiting, I proposed him to take some food, but he refused telling that his son is suffering, his wife is starving, so as long as the operation is successful he cant take anything. I was sceptical initially, thinking that its another baseless story, but that man cried through the entire duration of our journey from Puri Temple to Hotel. I was moved, thought to give additional Rs10. When we reached hotel, I just kept a 10 Rs in my pocket and gave everything I have which was more than enough for the operation. He was refusing to take, but I insisted him to keep the money, asked him to have some food for him and his family and save your only son. But I still admire that person, who was trying to collect money by his work, he was hungry but not begging, and his case was genuine.
Thanks to the credit card and my family (Though I have not told it to my family yet) I survived the rest of my journey.

Mona said...

Hi,
It can be anything and we cant guess just bcoz we have heard so much about Begging cases and all that we cant beleive what we see or what we heard.

Priyank said...

I have tremendous respect for musicians (since I am one myself). Here in Toronto, at the subway stations, someone or other is always playing music. Violins, Keyboard, Cello, Flute or even some exotic instruments. In Mumbai, there was a blind man who used to play the ektara, he always got in at Thane and was out at Dombivli, where he lived. I used to take the same train so I saw him daily. He played such amazing stuff, I know its difficult to play it. Eventually I started talking to him. It was unbelievable - he earned a handsome amount daily and fed his family. I don't think this is begging, this is patroning the arts.

ashes said...

Cuckoo, picking up from your and Peter's discussion: But this musical thing is not known in India. As Priyank, I too have seen people singing/playing in trains and asking for money. Some of them are blind or crippled, and some of them play really well.

Another form that is becoming prevalent in Bangalore these days is a couple of children doing acrobatics on the pavement close to a signal and asking for money.

The Black King said...

Very very interesting post! Maybe he was still hungry, or he has a future in Bollywood!

Raghu Ram Prasad said...

You have good experience in the Bandra railway station...Nice reaction at that time....good help from your side...

mur said...

That is an interesting post Cuckoo and one that would warrant different response from different people.

I never really saw many beggers in Australia and so it is very confronting to get to another country and be approached. You obviously feel sympathetic but also sceptical as that is human nature and it seems the younger the begger the more it tugs at the conscious.

The most disturbing sight was in Bangkok in a very busy shopping district where a young boy of about 8 was sprawled face down on the path with a bowl next to his head.
It was very hot and though people looked at him, nobody actually stopped to see if he was ok.

We walked on with a picture of him in our minds.
On the way back he was in a different location but in the exact same position which led me to believe he was ok if not extremely vulnerable.
The vivid image of him laying there still rears itself forward in my thoughts at quiet moments.

Kalyan said...

I have also encountered this situation many times till now, where people either ask me to buy food for them or ask money to buy food in front of my eyes and even request companionship and two to three times.
In another situation a person asked me just for the bus fare to a specific place.
Although I helped them I didn't have another chance to meet them in my life.

backpakker said...

I think the boy was very hungry...and he didnt want to ask for everything

Rauf said...

a story longer than yours Cuckooji.
i am a sadak chaap too, though i have not started begging yet. soon i will.

Pulicat lake used to attract lot of migratory birds. i go everywhere but did not care to look into my own backyard. Hardly 50 KMs from Chennai. Took a train, i was disappointed, no birds, different problem. i will not get into that. took a bus came back to MINJUR station and as i was walking on the Railway tracks i took a couple of pictures. Its illegal, Railway authorities can confiscate my camera. bought the ticket sat on a bench waiting for the train, had a cup of chai from the kiosk. An old man dragging himself came near me, extended his hand, i bought him some vadas and chai,
i said to myself, i belong to your tribe old man. i went back to my bench and waited for the train. The old begger was out of my mind soon. A man dressed in white sat next to me. Who are you he asked me. most difficult question. i kept quiet, he said that he is a Railway official. Oh dear ! there goes my camera, he has seen me taking pictures of the railway tracks, he is going to confiscate my things.
Where are you coming from he asked, but the tone was friendly and not demanding or arrogant. i lied, i said i am a teacher hoping for some mercy. which college ? i said no college i am a school teacher, hoping for more mercy.
I saw you buying tea and food for the begger, by that time i had forgotten, which begger ? he pointed to the old begger there who was still eating, i had to strain my already painful neck. i kept quiet. OK Camera is safe, he is not going to penalise me.
Do you know who that old man is ? he asked
By now i got a bit confident.
No, i said . This begger has lakhs and lakhs of rupees. And he is a loan shark. We the railway employees borrow money from him on interest.
blink blink OWEEE !
His clients extend to Chennai, takes a free ride on the locals to collect interest from Railway employees and he has some thugs under him who can twist your arm and collect the dues.
oh dear oh dear !!

Craver Vii said...

Do you think the boy was working for the shopkeeper? I would not want to be taken advantage of, but it is better than not helping someone who may really be in need. We cannot pre-judge people's motives. I think you did the right thing, and I like the way you wrote about it. It tugged at my heart-strings.

GMG said...

Wonderful story, great post Cuckoo! It's amazing the feelings you may go through facing beggars; I still remember almost forty years ago while at Uni, I was studying at a Cafe when a young boy arrived and told me a very heartbreaking story: stolen, had no money to take the train to go home… I was alert, but he was so authentic that at the end I gave him money to get back home; he departed and I thought I had done my good action of the day. One hour later, when I left, I realized he was still around and playing the same game. What a performer!
Anyhow, I think I would have behaved the same way you did…
Have a great weekend!
Gil

david mcmahon said...

Hi Cuckoo,

Such a familiar scene for me. Thanks for sharing that.

Cheers

David

amit said...

Hey cuckoo

nice actions frm ur side... i too dont like giving money to beggars, but as a sum kind of rule tend to give them sumthing to eat. dont know why i do this, but its probably because of seeing my mother's similar actions in last 20 yrs.
n boy !!! the putting up of Rs 1 coin was simply mindblowing...either the boy was really genuine or he has perfected this art over a loooong time. just check out again abt this boy if u r really curious whenever u go to tht stn

Cuckoo said...

Keshi,
Done it dear.

Aditi,
Awww, now that’s something I had never heard. Good that it didn’t happen with me.

Cuckoo said...

Pijush,
Thank you very much. Oh, no ! I don’t claim to be a writer, I write it the way thoughts come to my mind.

You have narrated a very sensitive incident. At times, it is difficult to judge a person or one can say judge ourselves as what exactly we want to do… listen to out heart or do as mind commands us.

Thanks for sharing the incident.

Mona,
Yes, you are right. We just have to go by our instincts.

Cuckoo said...

Priyank,
Oh Wow ! I didn’t know that ! Which instrument do you play ?

Yes, earning through one's talents is never a begging. We are part of a populous country where it is extremely difficult to get a 9 to 5 job and if someone is earning modestly enough through these different ways, we should in fact applaud that.
Thanks for sharing.

Cuckoo said...

Ashes,
Oh, there is some misunderstanding here. I was not talking to Peter about those people which Priyank has mentioned about… singing in trains or performing acrobatics on roads. They are not beggars according to me. They just didn’t get proper platform to show their talents and hence trying to earn their livelihood by these means.
What I was talking about was, in European countries and some other, there are people who stand on a fixed place such as busy roadsides, platforms, in front of malls (they don’t move from one place to another), and perform (play any instrument, paint themselves & do mimicking etc.). They always have a box/hat where passersby can drop in some money after seeing them perform. These people have tremendous talent and are well to do as well. I don’t call them beggars either. In fact, people invite them to their houses to perform. Some of these artists carry visiting cards as well. And I don't think this scenario is very common in India.

Cuckoo said...

Black King,
Thank you. The incident was interesting to me. I have some more !
Future in Bollywood? No, don’t demoralize me please.

Raghuram Prasad,
Thank you. I did what I thought was correct to do.

Cuckoo said...

Mur,
Welcome again. How is it going in your new place ?
Yes, the Asian countries have this major problem. Sometimes it is extremely difficult to even see them, they are just so terribly sick but then there is another flock who tries to earn by enacting as beggars and leaves us thinking what should be the right thing to do.

Cuckoo said...

Kalyan,
Oh, this is the greatest dilemma as how to know if they were genuine. I know I would definitely look for that guy next time I go there just to find out more about him.

backpakker,
Yes, I would also like to think that. :)

Cuckoo said...

Rauf,
Oh Rauf ji, that was an interesting account. And now I come to know that there are many like him. It is just that they choose to live like parasites. It is so disgusting.
A few days back, an old beggar died here in Mumbai. When her body was pulled by the police they found 10-12 bundles of Rs 100/- notes (all amounting Rs 10K each) under the jute rag she was sleeping. What is the use if she can not even buy a place for herself or live slightly decently instead of being in that miserable situation ?

BTW, when are you posting those track photos ?

Cuckoo said...

Craver,
Do you think the boy was working for the shopkeeper?.. No, I don’t think so because he was eating in front of my eyes. Though one commenter here has said she has seen such kids returning back the stuff to the shopkeeper and getting the money, I haven’t experienced the same.

I like the way you wrote about it. It tugged at my heart-strings... Thank you very much, the thoughts after that incidents came right from my heart and I just tried to put them down.

Cuckoo said...

Gil,
Thank you very much.
Yes, many times we are fooled by the acting they do and that is one of the reasons why I don’t want to give them any money. But at the same time, I don’t want to deny any help to a real needy one. A difficult task to decide indeed !!

Cuckoo said...

David,
You are welcome. :)

Amit,
Thank you very much. Yes, we all have our own instincts to do what or how we feel at that moment.

Yes, Re 1/- thing really gave me goosebumps. We grown ups should learn something from him and yes, my eyes will definitely look for him next time I go there.

Thanks for dropping by. Keep coming.

Rauf said...

Ah Cuckoo ji, i started laughing
The railway guy asked me why i am laughing
i said i have hardly 50 rupees in my pocket, i have absolutely no savings, tomorrow will take care of itself. Some work will come and i travel with that money.

He said he borrowed money from the begger for his daughter's wedding and still paying interest. Hoping the begger would die soon. Oh what a laugh we had.
We had another round of chai and chatted until the train arrived.

Princess Banter said...

That was an awesome story! I would have to side with you as I also am hesitant to give money to beggars (perhaps something inherent amongst those who grew up in 3rd world countries). But exceptional experiences such as what you just went through makes everything worthwhile. That was might good of you, my pretty :) I'm sure he'll never forget you...

Prax said...

To what Ashes has commented, did you know Kailash Kher was discovered on andheri platform no. 1 singing a song for money!

ashes said...

No Cuckoo, there was no misunderstanding. I never said you were talking about begging.

To your "I wish someone start it and entertain people and earn something out of it.", I said this is already being practised in India, on a smaller scale of course. I did say they ask for money but I meant they earn it by entertaining people--moving in trains/being at crossroads and standing in front of malls/in subways does not discriminate between begging and earning. If you do something and ask for money, you are not begging.

Yes, such people carrying visiting cards and being invited at homes in not very common here.

ashes said...

Oh Cuckoo, Prax and I were synchronous like you and I were at my blog. Only that here we both would have started writing the comment together but I posted it much later.

And thanks Prax, I did not know this trivia.

mathew said...

that was a terrific gesture..SOmetimes all adamant rules we have made like not to give alms all fall down when something genuine happens in front of us!! :-)

Shrink Wrapped Scream said...

I am constantly humbled at how much I have compared to so many less fortunate around me. I thank God I have never had the necessity to beg, and what ever the motive of someone who is compelled to do this, surely contempt and cynisism is far from what they deserve. Pity and compassion enriches not only the person in need, it feeds the soul of the person who is in a position to help.

Cuckoo said...

Rauf,
Ha Ha.. that’s the best solution ! I am sure everybody is praying for his death.

Princess,
Thank you. I am sure I’ll never forget him. :)

Cuckoo said...

Prax,
No, I didn’t know about Kailash Kher. I know about Manoj Bajpeyi though. He was a regular at Khar station.

Thanks for sharing this.

Ashes,
Oh Ashutosh, now I think this topic has become stale. :(
Yes, in India we have this type of practice in a smaller scale and people still look at them as downcasts. Not coming up as a full fledged decent way of earning money.

Cuckoo said...

Mathew,
Thank you. I agree. :)

Carol,
Pity and compassion enriches not only the person in need, it feeds the soul of the person who is in a position to help… So true !!
Well said, Carol.

Priyank said...

ah.. I forgot to come back and check! I play the Sitar.. but, its too late you know that already :D

Cuckoo said...

Priyank,
Yup. :)