I may not guarantee you of anything in this life but one thing I can assure you that the day you arrive Hyderabad, the first person(s) you will have encounter with in this metro city are beggar. Your explosive expression will be OMG!!! What the hell are you?
Don’t believe me!
Okay..let me give the top five ways of exclusive and popular begging styles here:
11> Bare body children: Small children are always subject of unbridled attention and love. But here, the love and sympathy has a price. The more torn and sympathetic you look the more you earn on roadside. Small girl, age between 1-7 years and boys, age between 1-5 years are paired and seated on the turns, with their cloth folded down till waist (even girl’s frock which falls to her knees is revealed from top) They are taught the simplest way to earn by spreading their hands and throwing a forlorn look at everyone that crosses them. One rupee, two rupee, people keep throwing at them. The funniest moment was that once a young girl stopped next to them, studied for a while, took their necessity to mind and taking a handful of candies from bag gave to them. It was really ridiculous to see the response to the young girl’s action. They were startled of given candies, not money as they didn’t know it was possible to get anything else than money in alms.
22> Small babies with Mother: Next to boy and girl pair, the pair that rocks in every season is of mother and baby. Yeah!! Even rock will liquefy seeing a small baby, who will be constantly crying and nagging for milk, cradled strangely and oddly by their mother and begging on the road, going to each every person standing around. Even if you are standing and talking in a group, they will just barge to you. A withered feeling rise inside me whenever I see them. And even I get softened seeing the babies. Who won’t??? But I control myself and deny straight on their face. In return sometimes I get answered back with some under-breath curses or even daunting glares. I just ignore them all total.
33> Religious Fakirs and babas: Wear a green or orange dress, put big tilaks of ashes on forehead, get a grail like some container and peacock feather broom is optional and become a so claimed fakir or baba or pandit. I find them most annoying. As if selling God and Religion in temples and mosques weren’t enough, now people got onto road to sell it. May be the margin of selling on road is higher and easier to gain. Now don’t rubbish me with those mythological stories of social gradation where Brahmins were supposed to beg and live. I don’t know who started it and why and what good-impact it had on society. But now it’s eating up the whole society like bug. Stop selling religion. We are wise enough not to buy it from you!! Aren’t we buddies?
44> Blessed with disability: The people with disabilities are somehow given this as a privilege stapled with their birth rights. If you don’t have an eye/ear/nose/hand/leg or any body part, then you are free to beg. Just go, roam around, scare people with your abrupt twisted appearance and loot money. Isn’t it fantastic?
55> Lie nude: (Last but worst!)Around ten days back, on my way to bus-stop I was suddenly jerked seeing the dreaded scenario spread before me. It took some time gain to mobility again seeing the naked old man lying there on the roadside, trembling as the thin sheet under him was of no work compared to the coldness of road. Only loincloth was on his body and he was totally coiled like snail-head around himself. His hair were flowingly white under the big bald on crown and long beard swept over dirt. An old lady, probably his wife sat next to him, her hands sprawled out and shaking in gesture of begging. It’s the cruelest and most dismal way of begging I have come across till now. Believe me or not, for this reason of disbelief I want to take a picture of them and display here but I was afraid my whole blog may get shut down for displaying such nasty pictures.
Some people may have the feeling that Damn! This girl has no heart. I understand your emotions well and I have a heart too, a very very soft heart that I keep hiding from everyone but my ethics don’t allow me to support all these nuisances. If begging were just a compulsion, then there wouldn’t be so many beggars roaming on each turn and square. I have my sympathy who are unable to earn their livelihood and are forced to begging (thanks to our never-gonna-work Government plans! Sucking out blood from all!). I also understand the inability of dejected old, sickened people who can’t push themselves to work. But is it true for all the beggars we pass? Even for the small child whose future hasn’t even started?
When it was to their parents, they casually and uninterestingly answered, what will they do by studying? If got into begging from an early stage, one day they will become professionals here. After studying they will start hating the job and our income will be gone.
I just wowed at this answer. It just felt like the questioner was wrong and the parents were correct. But if evil things are talked about then why the good things would be left behind. Despite this poignant rate of begging, I was marveled at some instants where almost tear of pride and joy flooded into eyes.
There was this instant, in Abids area, I saw a very old and fragile man organizing things on a wheel cart. His cheeks were sucked in, lips droopily snapped with each other in absence of teeth and crowfeet claimed all over his face. His wife(probably!) was standing next to him emptying some packets. They were gathering things for selling Bhelpuri. I was so happy, finally seeing someone working so late at their life. It must undoubtedly difficult for them to stand so long and work there. But the spirit I drew from their hardwork will always be valuable.
Another instance that made me laugh is that, on the main road from Maitrivihar junction to Big Bazaar junction, a 10 year old boy was selling trinkets in footpath. Ladies were gathered around him, matching the jewelry with their clothes, selecting from the wide range of collection and happy of getting it on their bargained price. And a legless man was lying totally on the bare ground, with a broken plastic mug and begging others rolling on road. He looked so disgusting that it made me puke. Not because he didn’t have legs, but because his cheap way of begging. I guess he was blind too as he couldn’t see that such small boy next to him was making money with pride and ease. But this wasn’t only one. I also saw next to him was a small shop where a middle aged man was selling magazines and newspapers and his legs were skimpy as cursed with Polio. He could have lied on ground, begging at every by-passer’s feet. But he chose the way of dignity. I feel proud of both of them.
The examples were rare but not powerless. Every example glowed with pride and independence and I bow before the people with respect for choosing the difficult but dignified way instead of such wormlike life. I salute your choice and courage for it!! The whole nation salutes you for your inspiration!! Keep working and keep inspiring us.