Monday, October 20, 2008

The Story of the Beggars

I've recently started giving out little packets to beggars I meet in the street, at traffic lights, or knocking on my door. So far, I've had some interesting reactions. Some have been encouraging, others not so much. Here's the latest:

Newspaper Boy

A young boy selling newspapers on Walton Road seemed quite excited to get a toothbrush, soap and toothpaste. His stone faced expression turned into a huge smile when he accepted the bag.

Whistle Man

After I gave the bag to the newspaper boy, a man started frantically blowing a whistle and staring at our car. My friend Ericka said, "I think he wants one too," so down went the window and I beckoned him over. He asked if there was food inside, and at this point I didn't have the wheat so there wasn't. Nevertheless, he seemed happy and continued blowing his whistle with a smile and salute as we drove off.

Turbaned Old Man

I spotted a crippled old man in a white turban in Defence market and called him over to my window. His eyes lit up when I gave him the bag, and as I smiled, I realized my folly in giving a toothless old man a toothbrush! Although he probably didn't have much use for the toothbrush, he hobbled off with a gleam in his eyes.

Street Salesman

I offered a bag of wheat to a street salesman who had small cleaning cloths on offer. He wasn't interested and scowled at me as if I had wasted his precious stop light time. I decided not to offer things to men who were already holding a lot of stuff.

Whining Woman

There is an old woman who sometimes sits outside of Pace in Y Block, DHA. She's always moaning and complaining about food, and she'll follow you to your car and press her face against the window until you drive off. She constanly invokes Allah and tries to look as pathetic as possible. I gave her some wheat, and she kept going on and on about food. I said, "Dekho, yih khana hai!" (Look this is food!) even though I'd already told her it was wheat and she had seen it. It seemed that she actually did not want food, but wanted money. A few others have actually refused to take wheat and have asked for money instead.

Sticker Boy

Usually I run and hide in my car before the little boys selling stickers can get to me. This time I happily gave him a hygiene kit and some wheat. I don't think he'd ever seen a toothbrush, so I had to explain how to use and how he shouldn't swallow the toothpaste. He grinned from ear to ear and asked me, "Sticker lena?" (Take a sticker?) I declined, say bye and was on my way with more wheat packs ready in the back seat.

No comments: