Saturday, February 14, 2009

An Old Beggar

I was coming out of the restaurant after my meal. I could see the regular old beggar sitting on the foot path in front of the restaurant. Exit of the restaurants should be the second most lucrative location for begging. After god in the heart (or mind) it is food in stomach that makes people dig into their purse and part with well earned money.

There is also something about old people begging on Bangalore streets. These old and wrinkled faces, brought closer to earth by the hunch gifted by old age, having difficulty to move their arthritic joints do strike our conscience. They evoke more sympathy in Bangalore than in Kerala, as we see them shivering in Bangalore’s colder climate, often the worn out blankets not providing enough warmth.

I saw him from a distance as I was walking down the steps of the second floor restaurant. Hands instinctively checked both the back pockets of the blue jeans which were my usual storehouse of change. They were empty. With no change on me, I took a route farthest possible from him, making an effort to avoid any eye contact and started walking away. Suddenly he called out to me in English and that too in an accent that would put to shame any average Indian government employee “Hey man, I am a beggar, I need your help, Please give me something and go.” I looked back shocked and he gave me the final blow with his warm toothless pleasant smile.

Quite a marketing gimmick I should agree. He managed to extract from me the most lavish donation I ever gave a beggar.

Pic: From some forwarded mail :)


dharmabum said...

i've met quite a few, but not an english speaking one as yet :)

Jackfruit said...

dharamabum: hmmm... I guess I am the lucky one. :D One of my friend pointed out that he could be a recently pink-slipped IT employee. :D