Monday, April 17, 2017

How I begged in a Metro station

That was a weekend. I do not remember exactly which day it was. Metro was not crowded. I was to meet someone at a restaurant in Delhi. I generally walk from the metro station to my destination. That day I was in a hurry for the other party was already at the place of our meeting. I do not prefer auto rickshaws. If possible I take a bus. Suddenly I remembered I did not have any change monet in my purse. I did not have smaller denominations of currency either. I had a few hundred rupee notes, a five hundred and a debit card. But I knew none of it would come to use at that given time for what I wanted as five rupees. That was the ticket charge in the bus.

I was still inside the metro station. I stood there thinking. I was in my saffron outfit but worn above a pair of jeans. I checked every nook and cranny of my purse. Lucky I was that I could gather three coins and together they made four rupees, still one rupee short for my bus ticket. I thought of dealing with the bus conductor. But I knew that they 'forget' to give the passengers their balance but never forfeited even one rupee if the passenger was lacking on. What to do? Ask someone. Thats what we generally do when we are in a place. Oh yes, when you are looking for a place, direction, address, person or anything like that it is very easy to ask anybody. But just think of asking some money from strangers. It is not that easy.

Ego and the idea of self worth, which are all false notions, are what stop us from asking some monetary help from strangers. We take loans from the familiar people, for it is a transaction based on trust and familiarity. It has various concerns including emotions to support it. but asking money from strangers that too in a station is very difficult because of our ego. I decide to ask from someone.  No one was around there. I stayed there for a few minutes thinking and by that time the station had emptied out.

Suddenly I saw a girl approaching. I thought of asking her. However, I did not do so, because, the 'whole incident' maybe misinterpreted by the girl for I do not fit the bill of a beggar and my approach could be mistaken. Besides, she is completely engrossed in her mobile phone, may not even have registered what I had asked for.  To avoid a scene I just wait for her to pass. Then I saw a young policeman washing his face at a tap near the corridor. I approached him and asked for a rupee. He looked at me. He did not understand what I asked. Showing the rest of the coins in my palm I asked for one rupee again. I could see disbelief in his face. He asked me to follow him. He took me to a security guard's room where I saw another young constable. The one who I had approached searched his bag and brought out a ten rupee note and gave it to me. I said that I need only one rupee. He insisted that I should take ten rupees from him. By the time the other young man had found an one rupee coin in his wallet. He gave that to me. I took it thanking him profusely.

The other boy was still insisting. He said " Baba, take this" I smiled at him and thanked him for his generous heart. And then I began to explain my side of the story. I wanted only one rupee for the bus. He was not ready to believe it.  "Baba, aap lo, karma aye" ( It will come of use). Please take it". I thanked him again. I was talking to him in hindi and I had to switch to English ( the language of the affluent!) to convince him. He was not ready to let me go without that money. I had to take out my purse and show hi that I had money but what I needed was five rupees for the bus.

Walking to the bus stop I thought of the generosity of the young man. And also I realised hoe difficult it was to ask and how much more difficult to refuse what was being given. I was overwhelmed by those young mens' gesture of help. Now you must be thinking why I spoke in English and showed my purse to him? Was it not my ego? WhyWhy shouldn't I have taken the ten rupees and gone? I had also thought about it. But I have only one answer to it. I should beg only for what I need. I should not beg for accumulating or for satisfying my desires.

If I am hungry, I could ask for food but I should not ask for a packet of food for the dinner also. The ten rupee note the boy was giving me was not meant for me. What I needed was one rupee, nothing more nothing less. Asking for what you need is the real begging. Begging cannot be a profession.

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