As a part of the Weekly Writing Challenge- Leave Your Shoes At The Door, I bring you this blog.

I remember I had to go for an exam. My father told he would drop as well as pick me up. While returning, the traffic was too much, and for a girl like me, who was already bent out of shape solving those annoying questions, the traffic was extremely irritating. Our car was there in a rest position. Most of them, including my father, had turned off the engines. Suddenly, I heard a voice. I turned to find a small girl, probably 7-8 years younger than me, asking me to buy the pens she had in her hands. I took out some change I had in my pocket, and then looked at my father. He nodded his head, which meant that he agreed. So, I gave this girl the money and bought one pen from her. As the girl moved forward, she again started pleading others to buy her pens, but no one cared. She started hitting the window helplessly, but the people simply looked the other way, as if she didn’t even exist.

I would now like to stand in the shoes of this girl, and imagine how her life would be like. I would like to visualize all the hardships she, and many others, face every day in their life. So, here I go…

It’s afternoon. The sun is smoldering, the rays are hitting my face, and my throat is desiccating. But, I can’t stop, no, not at all. I have to sell all the 20 pens before sunset. I have to continue walking from car to car, auto to auto, and convincing people to buy a pen.  I’m feeling extremely thirsty, but I can’t find any place where I could get some water, and there’s no place where I could sit and rest. No, I can’t waste my time. I’ll have to continue.

I walk from one window to another, pushing forward the pens in the faces of the memsahibs, assuming that they would exert influence on the bright colours.  I loiter more around children, with the hope that after seeing the bright colours, they would urge their parents to buy them the pens. But every time, at every car, the lady pulls up the window, as if she’s afraid that I’ll steal something from her car. That rich women. What will she loose if she buys a pen? Selfish, heartless men with money.

I don’t even know where my mother is. She must be there somewhere on the other end of the road, begging for money. I don’t like to see her like this. But then, I really have no choice.

Sometimes, I get terror-stricken, that she too would be crushed like my father under a speeding car. These people in big cars have no sense and often drive over our friends and other poor people begging for money. Then we have to endure the kids’ cries of pain for months as they moan their loved one’s death or tolerate a broken leg or hand. Work doesn’t stop of course. Sometimes, it comes as a boon when occasionally, a kind-hearted man gives us 10 rupees when he sees a bandaged hand. But very rarely do we come across such people.

I look at these people in their big cars and think to myself, if ever I will be able to rise up to their level. I wish that a day comes when I will drive a car just like these badhaa people. But I will have the heart to give away a few rupees, maybe even a hundred, to the people on the street. People like me.

At times I loose momentum and feel sad. What is the use of this life? At times, I feel like shouting “That’s it”. What exactly is my fault that I’m made to beg for money? Why am I so unlucky? Why can’t I eat and live in big houses like other people? Why am I supposed to sell these pens, while the childhood of other children of my age is filled with the essence of play, joy and laughter. Why only me? Why should I live this life? But, if I go, who will take care of my mother? My sister already has to carry around 3 more brothers all day, and see to it that they get a morsel of food. I only have one option, that is to keep selling these pens and hope that someday, something happens, maybe a miracle, which brings me and my friends out of here.

Sometimes, a question comes to light- am I doing correct by giving them money?

I happen to be an emotional type of girl. Seeing the poor, I melt easily and give them some change if at all I have some. People say it’s not correct to give them money. But sometimes I think that to beg is extremely demeaning, not to mention freezing! People must be in extreme poverty in order to resort to such measures.

But then, as my parents say, when you give money directly to beggars, you have no idea as to what they will spend that money on. You have no idea whether they really are homeless. But when you give the money to an organized charity you know that the money will be spent wisely. 

But, why do these people beg for money? Can’t they get themselves employed, work hard and earn money themselves? Why do these people ever choose to stand for begging, if they have the power to earn? Why do they give others a chance to have pity on them? Why can’t they themselves make their lives better? I say, remain hungry, but do not start begging. I know of nothing more despicable, shameful and pathetic than a man who devotes all hours of the waking day to begging in front of all people for money. Really, it’s better not to make them dependent on us, and give them a chance to work and earn.

YK

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