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Sunday, August 29, 2010

Let's Help Them....You Know You Can


Remember the last time you went past that red signal on the intersection? The little boy peering in the window, trying to convince you to hand him some coins so he could have some food, so he could give some to his little sister who was standing with him, holding on to the thin hand with little thin fingers. Remember that look?

Remember that young woman, poor and helpless, standing at a side of the road, waiting for the light to turn red so she could walk up to the many tinted windows and ask the people sitting inside in the cool air to give her something, some loose change, some money, so that she could buy some milk for the little infant who was hanging from her saree end, tied up in an old rag around her reed-thin body, the little head dangling dangerously from side-to-side. Remember the way she was wringing out water from her wet saree, the cloth that had got soaked wet in the rain, the same cloth that she was using and would use through the day to tie her little infant in? The wet cloth that the infant would be strapped in the whole day?

Remember that old woman you saw sitting on the pavement, too old to get up and come to your window, but looking out at you nonetheless, waiting for some hand to roll out of a window and hand her some change that could buy her next meal maybe.

Maybe you remember,
Maybe you don't
Maybe you'll help them,
Maybe you won't.
Maybe you will look around for those coins after all
And hand it out without a second look,
Maybe you will shrug and call it all a fraud
"They don't need any money, they are all just crooks.".......
Maybe they really don't need any money
Just a little smile and a little help still could do,
Why not a pack of biscuits,
Or some fresh food or fruits,
Why not a bottle of milk
Or the old clothes you know will never again be worn on you.......

We all say these children begging on the roads, these women with the infants strapped to them and even the old people who look so helpless, are all just a part of a criminal activity going on, that this is all a sham, that none of this is real, that they are all just acting.....

And of course I do not advocate handing them any money...coz who knows where the money will go, and more often than not, they will only be passing on the money to the many 'dons' and beggar-lords who run the show...so no help for the real ones in need....

So why not help them a little tiny bit by giving them something that will really help? A little tiny gesture from our side that would mean so much more to them. Next time when you head out in your car, why not make it a practice to keep a few packets of biscuits in the glove compartment, so that when the little one comes up to beg and ask for money for food, you can hand him the packet, some real food.....Believe me, they really need it....So many times I have handed out packets of biscuits to these little unfortunate ones, and they have grabbed it with a big smile, tearing it open and finishing off the contents, showing it off to their friends who then have been directed to me, and I have handed them out more packs, so they all could eat.....I cant tell you how it felt to see those smiles for some time. Who knows, maybe it was the only decent food they will have in the whole day, at least they had something then...And maybe someone else will think likewise in the evening and give them another packet in the evening....

Your closet desperately needs some cleaning and the old clothes are spilling out, with you constantly in a fight with your cupboard and its contents, trying to keep them under control while they threaten to revolt....why not take them out and sort them out as per age and wearability? Why not make piles of clothes that are sorted out based on who can use them, like infants, kids, women, men. Then you can easily take the bundles and hand them to the local beggar kids and women, even the old people who sit begging on the streets. Don't tell me "I wont do it coz they will only go and sell it off..." You know its an excuse, it sounds unreal and unconvincing even to yourself. And even if they do sell it off, what would you have done with those clothes in the first place? Never worn them again, keep pushing them at the back of your cupboard, and then maybe sell it off to a guy who buys old papers and stuff? Wouldn't you be selling it off too? Come on, you dont need those any more, so why not give it to someone who will definitely use it some way or the other? Old shoes and sandals (but please, only the ones that are wearable...not ones that are beyond repair!!) old sweaters, caps, mufflers, socks, handkerchiefs, napkins, towels...basically anything that you will not use....why not share it with them?

On birthdays, anniversaries, special occasions, we all go out and celebrate, throwing lavish parties and spending big moolah..... great.... but why not add a little bit more joy to all these good times by sharing that happiness with some of our less fortunate friends? Birthday...why not go to the nearest orphanage and give them a birthday treat...a birthday cake and some chips and food maybe. Or why not share some food with the beggar kids near your place? Why wait for occasions? If you can, why not make some extra food once a week, or once in a while, a proper meal, even something as simple as noodles if a meal is too much...and why not head out and just hand it out to them? I have handed out full meals to these kids....and mind you, not to the adults who roam around, but only the kids, and I have waited to see that its only the kids who sit and eat the food, and have left after they have had their fill..This way, atleast you can make sure that what you are giving to the kids is not being taken away by the adults who are always nearby. Some days I have given them noodles and they were so happy, some days I gave idli-dosa and that too is a different food item than what they usually get. Even sandwich...they love that...

But almost always, we have started keeping packs of biscuits and cornflakes in the car, so that whenever that knock comes on the window, we are ready to give back something to that endearing smile that hardly has any reason to smile.....

You can do that too....so why not start today and feel the happiness within? Thanks a million if you decided to do so too........And if you still will not do that little bit, well what can I say.....