Expect nothing, live frugally on surprise.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

A farewell to alms?

Flowers, pirated books, stationary and what not. The les misérables you encounter at every traffic signal vie for your attention and money

Not very long back my brother Rahul , a student of IIT Delhi was crossing the flyover near his college. As he halted at the traffic signal, a woman in tattered state approached him with a prescription of what she called her daughter’s. "I usually don’t entertain beggars but the old woman looked so hassled that I couldn’t but give her Rs 20," shares Rahul. The woman asked for more so the good Samaritan ended up giving her Rs 80. Feeling happy that he had helped somebody in need. Few days later, he met the same woman under the Moolchand flyover and this time she said, she was pregnant. Rahul was obviously taken aback.Everyday hundreds of people fall prey to such emotional blackmail at the hands of seemingly ill and needful. While some of them discover how they have been fooled, the others console themselves with the fact that at least they are still sensitive to the needs of les misérables. What makes this happen is the fact that a lot of times, this sham is easily detectable, filling people with disgust. As a result, even the genuinely needy are tarred by the same brush. A lot of people tend to lecture the beggars by saying mehnat mazdoori karo but how many still buy books, et al from those selling it at the signals. Even they are trying to earn their living.The only option for them then is to cash in on the sympathy of the people than work hard. Ultimately they have to extract money from by hook or by crook. But then when one hears of beggar gangs operating in the city, one doesn’t feel like trusting them. But again, how much can one harden oneself when one sees little kids moving their flexible bodies in tandem to dhol. One can’t resist a smile and there goes Rs 10 note. While South Delhiites are not insensitive to the needs of those who are reduced to such social-physical conditions; they are not really obliged to put up with such ’inconveniences’. The question then remains for the likes of Rahulwhether to help or not to help…


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