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The Beggar

Updated: Aug 22, 2020

I gaze out the window, sipping my bitter black coffee, usually its just a blank stare, where I sometimes correlate the bitter dark daily battles of work with the black coffee. Sometimes I watch the world, going about its rituals, nonchalantly. Hired help, the unfortunate societal low breeds walking the St. Benards or the Huskys, fatigued domestic help buying fresh vegetables and groceries from the mini market below, skinny children from the near by state school laughing or pushing their friends around and chasing them, girls in their little groups chatting away, all unperturbed by the grim ways of the society. Time, they say, don’t stay the same forever.  

Today, consumed by the bitter days that I assume will follow, I watch men and women in their branded track suits walking their dogs, women with sunglasses, hand gloves and masks buying vegetables. The only children I see are the poor or homeless, with a stretched arm and solitary expression of despair. Time is no one’s friend, it will clothe some with its finest offerings and unburden some, of even the basics.

I hear the King has ordered all to be kind, share as much as possible and take care of all that are dependent on you, yet offers nothing to the better offs. But business owners and even ordinary able people are not insensate as they may appear, free hot food is severed in almost every corner of this, rich at heart too, city. I hear the kings are doing the same, albeit not free but ironically subsidised. So it seems there is little hope for humanity, as the kings and its court, rolled out their list of freebies for the ultra poor, the food, the hospitals, the shelters and for the slightly better, of course the guidelines, to live, to share, to pay and to blow the conch. The hospitals, the shelters and huge economic packages are the need of the hour, but I foresee scams unfold once this fog of tribulation is lifted, kings and their jesters are notorious for profiting from the dead.

On my recent trip to the grocers, a young boy tailed me asking for some grocery, there were at least 8 more kids doing the same, their synchronised expressions begging for more than just food in their bellies, may be a shot at gentle tomorrow. This young boy, was little younger than my own son, it broke my heart to see the contrast, one had handed me a list of his favourite chips, juices and snacks, while the other’s listless face only begged for redemption. I gave him a few bucks way more than what I would usually, but he wanted 500, I was shocked, irritated and sad at the same time. I drove more irritated than any other day, since the lock down, as I drove those 1 and a half km to home, I saw similar scenes at every nook, children and the elderly, helpless. 

This morning I saw yet another group of kids out of my window pestering the shoppers for cash and grocery, a kind man bought biscuits and tried to distribute it, most kids refused and bargained for more, I saw the similar irritation on the kind mans face. I’ve seen these kids with boxes full of food and grocery and may be more cash than they could collect outside a religious place, yet they are out there everyday, like clock works, just before the shops open and disappear after they close. 

As I begin to question these little scammers, their unquenchable greed for a just a little more cash, a little more food or a little more that the society can offer. I question their lust for this extra bargain, taking whatever that will make this better off section of humanity live a bit more guilt free. Then I begin to wonder about my communication to the debtors and creditors, give and take what is fair and due, my own plea to the kings to waive off or offer whatever they can, so my business survives this lockdown. I realised, I too beg, for mercy and redemption, but only to overcome this difficult phase, I think, then we go back to normal. The normal, when we start begging for a little more from the shareholders, a little more from the tax authorities a little more that we can squeeze in our deals to be more better off than we already are.

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