An Unconventional beggar

Unemployment is an age old problem in the world. In a country like India it is the foremost of our problems. Working is an important sphere of life. Everyone wants to work but not everyone gets to work. All those who are reading this , we are lucky enough aren’t we? India just has an unemployment rate of 2.5% — a very small number. But this is just data. The number is just a blanket covering the unemployment which is disguised. In a country of 133 crore people we have only 5.65 crore tax payers. Well I could go on and on about unemployment but that’s not the topic for today. Today I want to share a story of mine, an experience most of us may have gone through.

So the tale goes back to last year. I don’t remember what season it was or what day it was but it was a rather sunny day. It was 4 in the afternoon and I was going for my coaching classes. ( I am preparing for JEE) As you may have seen the concept of coaching has become fairly common in India. A number of students in their coaching uniforms can be seen early in the morning or in the hot afternoons waiting for vans or autos to pick them up. So I was waiting for my van to arrive. I was standing under a tree to protect me from the scorching heat. It was as if the road would have melted that day. I was thinking about what would be taught today and if I had done my homework or not. I used to carry some money back then, to buy a packet of chips or biscuits after the classes ended. That day when I was lost in my thoughts I was approached a beggar. He was maybe in his 50 s . As all beggars are, he was shabby and wore clothes that were torn at many places. Since childhood I have been taught not to pay beggars. But this one time, there was something different about this one beggar. He walked slowly and his face was tilted towards one side. When he spoke his speech was slurred. I am pretty sure he was mentally retarded. He asked me for money and I replied that I didn’t have any. It was just an instinct and words had just rolled out my tongue naturally. Although deep somewhere I wanted to help him.

Then a surprising thing happened the man asked me my school’s name. I told him. Then he asked me in which grade I studied. I still answered him that I was in 10th. All of this was very unusual. I think if it had been any other beggar my first question would have been ” why do you want to know??” but this man had something different about him and the answers came out just naturally from me. I was conflicted with a sense of suspicion on one side and a sense of pity on the other. It was indeed very astonishing because beggars do not ask these things and most beggars just persistently try to persuade people into handing out money. I replied to his last question and had decided to stop answering any further questions. What he did next, is something that still makes me regret my instinct till date. The man blessed me. Blessed. I was shocked. He moved on leaving me on the side of the road deep in thought. Even though I had refused to pay him the man had blessed me instead of hurling curses at me.

In this world full of cons one can’t trust each and every person. But one should not be so cynical that he/she forgets that humanity still exists.

There are millions of people who live on roads everyday. They don’t have any place to live and many have been abandoned by their own families. A number of them often become victims of psychological diseases. Through the eyes of a common man, these people do not want to work and just lie on the roads begging. We often do not realize that there is not enough work. Think yourself, would you employ that half -clad man without even a hint of suspicion that he may be a thief. We often think that unemployment is governments’ fault. We do fail to realize that its our too. We all are running after the endless race of packages. Why not make your own?. The secret to being rich is not working for money but making the money work for you.

I agree that one should have a job first to learn work and gain experience. But after that one can become a job maker rather than a job taker. I know all these things are easy to say. But if you may not know just 2-3 decades India and China used to be nearly the same in terms of economy. Well now China has definitely left us far behind. They have used their population to their advantage. Why can’t we? Well that’s a topic for another day. Stay tuned!!


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