Did you pass by the beggar lady yesterday?

I’m not a bad person, but definitely not a particularly brave one.

I work an 8- 5 job and go home to work some more.

My salary is enough for food, shelter, clothing-

Not much more, not much less.

Occasionally an event breaks the monotony,

But generally, life passes by.

But this is not about me.

This is about the lady, lying just outside the hospital wall,

That reeks of urine.

There are many like her, haggard, filthy, ill.

They told me, not to encourage begging,

The beggars were all rich, just disguised.

The lepers with deformed hands and bandaged feet-

they were getting government aid, so we need not worry!

There were regulars- you recognize them when you’ve been around a while.

There is the lady faking seizures,

The aggressive both arm amputee,

The young woman with a child, so unlike her in appearance,

The leper couple who begged together,

The old man, who almost looked holy with his long shaggy hair.

But this lady stood out- cos she was new.

I passed her every second day.

The first time I thought she was gone- she lay in her vomit and urine.

There were flies around her.

But she stirred.

I wished someone would take care of her.

There were so many charitable organizations.

Well, the next day, she was sitting up.

Someone had brought food and water.

The half empty packet was lying next to her.

The next time she was asleep again. There was a huge ulcer on her arm, the flies surrounded their target in swarms.

Today, she wasn’t there at her place, there was only a bundle.

There was no one else on the pathway either.

Then I realized, the bundle was her.

Curled up in fetal position, someone had covered her face in a sari.

They were pieces of a broken vessel near her and flowers stewed over the place, as per the custom.

I wondered who the ‘they’ were.

I wondered if someone was with her when she breathed her last.

Then I realized that in another life, another circumstance, she could have been me.

She may have been a wife, a mother, a sister, a friend; She certainly was someones child.

I was ashamed- Ashamed that I had seen her and not acted.

That I let my fears overcome my sense of humanity.

That I was so selfish in my pursuit of punctuality and order,  that I couldn’t stop for a moment to hold a hand and ask for the need.

I had failed as a human.

I wondered how different life would be,

 If we saw needs, instead of tear-provoking forwards on facebook.

If we would reach out for a hand, instead of the like button.

If we stopped following political news and celebrity thrash,

 instead looked out for a neighbor.

I am guilty of it too!

Can we challenge ourselves to reach out to at least one person a week?

Do you think it is too late to try?




This entry was posted in pain, Philosophy, poverty, Uncategorized and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Did you pass by the beggar lady yesterday?

  1. Sabiscuit says:

    A wonderful call to action. It takes courage to eschew the shortcuts and to live a life of purpose in the real world.


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