My local train journeys give me so much to think about. And to react. I hardly travel by train these days, yet when I travel I get to observe quite a lot. So this afternoon, a lady, in her middle 50s probably, quite decently dressed, came around passing chits. She actually thrust the chits into each person’s hands in the compartment. I was busy doing something else and wasn’t interested/curious to know what the chit was about. So I politely refused her. She didn’t budge and forced the chit into my hand. That turned me off. I wanted to hit back right away, but wanted to check what the chit was all about. So, apparently, as per the chit, the lady is dumb and has a lot of liabilities on her. She apparently has none to take care of her, has no money, has many brothers/children/sisters to take care of. So the chit was a request for each of the passenger to contribute in amounts of Rs.5/Rs.10. This was what the chit had in it.
After sometime, the lady came back to collect the chits back. As she stopped at each person to get the chit, she extended her hand with so such determination and didn’t budge from her place until each one gave her something. This aggravated my anger further. As she stopped by me, I politely gave her the chit back and looked away. She patted my hand and gave me a pained look, bringing in so much agony in her eyes that only made me stick to my decision to not give her penny. I just shook my head and nodded her away. Irritated, she slouched away to the next passenger.
To all people reading this, I am no reformer, I am no preacher. I ain’t a saint, I ain’t God. And I’m certainly not judging her.
What I want to convey is, this. There are people who are so much more unfortunate than this lady here. Yet, they work for their needs. I have come across numerous people who aren’t completely healthy, who are disabled, but have the grit to earn their livelihood. For them, their self respect is all that seems to matter. Begging wouldn’t have been even the last resort for them. However small the job, they do it. When such is the case with people who are in conditions worse than this lady here, who is hale and hearty, and physically fit – except for the fact that she is dumb, the determination she has in extracting money from each passenger, can easily help get herself a decent livelihood if only she uses her strength and grit to work hard to earn her living and not beg her way out.