The scooter stopped at the red light. This was the light next to my house, the one where I had encountered my little beggar girl many months back, the one where I often found myself rummaging in my bag for some of the goodies I carry to give out to the little beggar children that crowd around my auto. For the past three weeks not a single child greeted me as courtesy the Commonwealth Games all beggars had been rounded up and hidden away. So for the past weeks I had sat quietly in my auto and continued reading my book. That was exactly what I was doing when I felt a tug at my pants and heard a little voice demanding: Chocorate, chocorate! I instantly looked up and there was one of my little beggar girls. They were back. By they I mean the beggars that live under the flyover next to my home and beg at the red light. And chocorate is the generic used by the children to demand the goodies I carry. It could be a biscuit, a banana, a toffee or a bar of chocolate. They all knew that I never gave money.
I looked at the child woefully as my bag was empty but promised her chocorate the next day. She looked at me first crossly but then gave me a huge smile and set off to knock at the next car window. The gang was back in business as the games were over. I must admit I felt a sense of relief in seeing them back. Maybe we were finally getting back our lost soul. Please do not misunderstand me. I am not offering an apology for begging, far from that as it is something I abhor and was the first why I wanted to address but sadly could not. Our nutritive biscuit programme failed miserably. We did not find any takers.I guess people were just not ready to accept their part of responsibility. We still had to learn the art of looking into people's eyes.
As I said it was comforting to see that the beggars were back because I wondered where they had been banished to and feared for them. Their return proved that nothing had really changed. You see beggars are not a real problem for the satraps that rule us. They were simply and embarrassment, something you were sort of ashamed of and needed to hide while you supposedly put your best foot forward. So you hid them and now that the show is over you let them lose again. You are not ready to assume responsibility and address the problem. It makes me see red. We are talking of people and of children who should not be knocking at your car window but sitting on a school bench. They should not be asking for chocorate but learning to spell the word correctly!