I have been in this dilemma for a very long time now. I just cant figure out how am I supposed to feel. A part of me says I should feel pity and do something for these guys. But seconds later another part of me says I need not, since it is nothing more than a gimmick.
Well, I am talking about the beggars that crowd near cars at traffic signals. I hate calling them beggars, but I am sorry, they don’t do anything more than begging. There are some who try to sell some petty articles like pens and stickers or balloons, but i will call it masked begging. Because they force you to buy those articles even when you don’t need them and they will never let you go with buying just one, they will force many more.
So, every signal our car halts at, we see many beggars approaching us and all other cars there. Initially, that is like 4 years ago, we would give money very willingly and these guys seemed contented with that. But of late, there seems to be an upgrade to their modus operandi. A penny never pleases them, they always want more. It is extremely heart breaking to see crippled people crowding the cars and asking for money. Ideally, it is supposed to evoke immense sympathy for them but things seem to be changing now. Each time the cars halts at the signal, we roll up the windows (mostly we travel with windows down, both of us like fresh air compared to AC) thus avoiding any contact with these beggars. Most other cars do the same. There will be few who will bother to give some money but that doesn’t move us. Really!
I mean, when I think, there will be children who look able to work but yet are seen begging. There are adults who fake disability and ask for alms. Why do these guys do nothing better than begging. Why cant they earn money in a different manner? I understand that these days, beggar trafficking (that’s what i like to call) is no less than human trafficking and perhaps all these able people who beg are trapped and forced to do so, but, really is there no way out? Not sure! On the other hand, some people could be really crippled, I mean you can see it really, like and amputated leg or a plucked eye. But unfortunately, these guys get a cold shoulder because of able beggars.
Beggars are mostly ignored these days, and why not? They don’t seem genuine to me. Each time I meet a beggar, I ask if he would like to eat something and 99% of them refuse and say they just need money. Even if you give them money, they will never seem to be satisfied with a tenner. So what is it like? Give them a hundred? I am like WOW – there is definitely something more to it than just what they try to show – like – they could be hungry really – but not for food, for money! Will a very needy person who goes to the extent of begging will refuse food? May be these guys are a part of a larger group who are given targets for collections? May be it is their job? May be they get some incentives if they over achieve their targets for the day? May be they are tormented if they do not bring in money? I don’t know!
What I know is I cant allow myself to keep giving money to everybody who knocks at my car’s window. It is unfortunate that they have to do it, but am I really responsible for it? What hurts me more is – I miss a chance to help somebody who really is in need. God forgive me for that!
This confuses me to no end! I can’t figure out whether I should feel pity or unmoved!
How do you guys handle such people?
Simple! Pay no heed to them, especially in a place like Mumbai – like seriously! You have beggars all over the place. Crippled people – yes maybe sympathy for them but ‘beggars’ – its a BIG NO for me. And yes, 1 & 2 rupee coins just isn’t good enough. A 5 rupee coin is now minimum beggars-expectations. Why should we give it to them? Banks are now charging the customer on every damn transaction – who’s looking into that matter? Every 5 and 10 rupees we have, can go into stupid bank charges. So no more giving out of free money – money isn’t growing on trees.
Gosh! this sounds more like a rant than a comment. :p
Well said Savio! This makes me feel better… Somebody who has thoughts parallel to mine….