It had been raining heavily for the past few days. It was Sunday & life seemed to be crawling at a snails pace. The heavy rains had forced the metro to slow down a bit. The atmosphere was gloomy & occasionally when I did peep out of the window all I got to see was a watery sun which disappeared behind thick, black clouds every now & then. The air had cooled down because of the continuous rains & there was a perceptible chill in the air.
Taking a break from studying for my semester exams I went to the window with a warm mug of coffee in hand. The road below was deserted & except for the few children playing football all was quite. That's when I noticed a bundle of blue plastic placed by the road divider. Sipping the warm coffee I wondered who had placed the bundle in the rains? The bundle seemed to be shivering. Finding my coffee mug empty I went back to studying.
After lunch once again I peeped out of the window & this time I was surprised to find that the bundle had moved, it was moving at a very slow pace. That's when I realised that it wasn't some inanimate object but a living, breathing person beneath that blue tarpaulin. A beggar probably. Grumbling about why people beg when they could put their lives to much better use I cuddled up on my bed & within minutes was fast asleep.
I checked out the beggar at tea time to check whether he was still there wasting his time doing nothing or was he gone. Some women were offering him some Parle G which he greedily pounced upon. I studied well into the night & while memorising some answers kept a close eye on the beggar who was still crouched next to the road divider in the still persistent torrential rains.
The next morning on my way to college a huge crowd had gathered around the exact spot where the beggar had been yesterday. Thinking like a typical, busy & arrogant youth I caught a rickshaw without even bothering to glance his way.
On returning from college my curiosity got the better of me & I asked my maid servant as to what had happened to the beggar. The story I got to hear left me with a weird kind of feeling which just cant be worded.
The 'beggar' had been an 82 year old man who had been driven out of his own house by his son. The only thing which his son had left him with had been the clothes he wore. People had offered him food, some had tossed a few coins & nature had been kind enough to not keep him thirsty. However this very kindness had been the cause of the man's death for what he had needed all along wasn't some food or money but a shelter, some warmth.
I thought back to the time yesterday noon when I had cuddled up on my bed beneath a warm blanket when a person had been shivering to death just 3 floors below & I felt my face reddening with shame. I cursed the women who had offered him food but not something to protect him from the rains. That's when I realized that at least they had bothered helping when all the while I had been sipping coffee & wondering philosophically as to why people beg? Often in our preconceived notions about how people should behave we miss out entirely on how we should behave! The most important thing I guess then is to help in any way we can for we never know what brought a person to us. For though begging & asking for help does need a person to keep his pride aside, it takes the giver to keep his prejudices aside as well so he can help wholeheartedly & earn some much needed blessings!!!