Straight Angle™: Future!
Wednesday, July 06, 2005
The street was crowded and the sun shone brighter than it usually ought to shine. The monsoon had started the sun is not supposed to even be seen, let alone beat down mercilessly. Afterall, we are to leave this city in a week, to a place, where one had to cajole the sun god for four months, to raise from his slumber and it seems only fit to enjoy him when he is still available.
It was around mid-day, that we were shopping. Shopping is not the word for it, as we were not worried about the countless forms, shapes and varieties that littered all space. We were looking for a suitcase/bag that would let us carry all that we had shopped in the previous weekends and weekdays.
The worst form of this sort of search is to do it for a woman. We searched for all sort of shapes that would remotely resemble a suitcase and perform the same function. We were tired of searching for a suitable suitcase that would have wheels yet be light in weight, would be branded yet cheap, would be aesthetic yet durable, and has everything that had not been launched in the market, but be popular.
After an hour of search, with a constraint (rather a sole relief) of searching it only on one side of the road, (coz to search in the other side, you need to cross the road, and in Hyderabad, it is, well- it needs a separate post), we did pick up a suitcase (only that I still have a feeling that it is more a travel bag than a suitcase).
When we came out, there was this urchin, a small kid of five-six years old, with a still younger kid in her waist, begging. There seems to be so many beggars here than compared to Chennai, I thought and just left that place, as I didn’t want to give any money.
But the lady with us, magnanimous that she is, started searching for some change in her wallet. This made the kid stand there a little longer and the kid on that kid’s waist was even more excited. The face of the kids showed a ray of hope, of a guy in front of his girl, to whom he had just proposed his love and waiting for an answer, that she is willing to give, but reluctant to utter it straight away.
The single sight of a person willing to give alms should be really heartening to that kid(what with persons like me turning away indifferent), I thought and was about to turn to the other side, that I saw what I saw.
The lady with us had taken a 1 Re. coin from her wallet and was about to put it in the arms of the kid, that the smaller one on her waist, just hit the elder's hand and in a single swift movement, snatched the coin from the lady. The look on that kid's face, was not that of one getting something, but the one of winning something. It doesn't seem that it would ever regret the condition that it is in.
Nothing in this world would make her understand, begging is not a proud act. Actually, it seemed that the face at that instant, when she hit the older kid's hand and snatched the coin, was that of a Olympic champion proudly displaying his medal after beating his rivals by a whisker, that of a righful earning that he had made, that he deserved, through his ability. But to see such a face in a kid, that is hardly 5 years old, that cannot even understand what it is doing, what it would lead to, was paining.
I know that was not the fault of the kid...it is merely acknowledging the achievement. When she tries the same act of "asking" to a dozen, even more people a minute, every single penny that falls her lap is "earned" in her realm and she is in fact justified to relish the victory. It is the same feeling that a guy would get after his loan had been approved by a bank after being rejected by a dozen.
I can do nothing to prevent that...every penny that I give in the hope of improving her, would go to reinforce her belief in her act and the usefulness of it. The best ( and I think the only) way to stop it is, to stop giving. To stop giving what that is not earned, to stop washing your "sins" by trying to wash somebody else's stomach, to stop reserving your seats in heaven, as if it has a frequent flier advantage where, the more you give, the more points you get to claim a benefit.
But in the meanwhile, a 25 Ps. coin had fallen down from the bowl that she was carrying and even without caring to pick it up, the kid turned and started to walk off...I called the kid and told her that a 25 Ps. coin had fallen down and to take it. The stare that she gave me for those words, I felt as if it was me who was begging and she- being generous by picking it up.
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