on brigade road…

Was talking a walk along Brigades when I felt someone tug my handbag. I looked back or rather down to see a familiar face. Curly unruly hair, large eyes, a grubby face and a ragged frock. I smiled and took out my purse to buy the ‘gajra’ that she was selling. As every time, I try to return the garland and ask her to keep the money. Both of us know that with short hair, I would just throw the gajra in the nearest dust bin. As every time, I feel guilty that I am encouraging her to beg.(and I guess it is a kind of begging).

This time she hesitates and I am surprised. She says ‘Paisa chahiye. School bag kharidna hai’. It is my turn to hesitate. Should I? Give a lot of money to a kid? I refuse. The eyes that were looking so beguilingly at me suddenly shoot sparks. She gets angry. I tell her I will get her an old bag but she insists she wants the money. I refuse and walk away. I turn over my shoulder and look back. She is standing at the same spot, tears welled up in those large eyes, tiny fingers clutching the gajras.

I walk back. She looks at me expectantly. I turn for a second as a man jostles past me. But before I recover, she spits at me. Not once, twice. And runs away. Nobody seems to notice anything. But I coudnt help shivering.

18 comments for “on brigade road…

  1. July 8, 2004 at 5:14 am

    gosh! that was really terrible! 🙁 n to think you bought gajras from her regularly! i think the lesson learnt from this would be…don’t encourage beggars at all! not even kids!!

    • July 8, 2004 at 6:43 am

      hmmm. I still feel miserable about that. It is not that I expect gratitude; that is not the issue at all.

      I am still trying to figure out what I felt. Maybe it is shame. For me or her I dont know. And I coudnt help wondering what kind of circumstances does a six year old go through to end up being vicious. The streets are hard after all!

  2. July 9, 2004 at 7:54 am

    Makes me sad, even reading about it. Looks like she got her hopes up and presented you with a difficult choice. Being a child, she perhaps felt betrayed and thus reacted in such a manner.

    Don’t be too hard on yourself; as for the little girl, obviously life is very hard on her 🙁

    • July 19, 2004 at 5:04 am

      I guess yes. I am just not sure if I did the right thing. Maybe I should have been kinder, but I wasnt sure if the money would be put to right use.

  3. July 17, 2004 at 11:42 pm

    hi

    meandered here thro appughar(?)’s blog…
    after a 6 week holiday in good ol bangalore, and buying enough cleaning rags/earbuds/dusters to stock a medium sized army(these guys are trying to earn a livelyhood,i ought to buy something, else they will have to beg!!)), i know what you mean….
    added you as a friend…

    • July 19, 2004 at 5:18 am

      Re: hi

      hi:) you are back home?

      • July 19, 2004 at 9:13 pm

        ???????

        Home I have none, and beyond these clouds I can’t lift this body any more
        I am back in San Jose, but home is, and always has been, Bangalore..

        • July 19, 2004 at 10:48 pm

          Re: ???????

          Sorry. You said that you took a six week vacation in Blore. So I assumed that home was abroad.

          • July 19, 2004 at 11:13 pm

            Re: ???????

            no reason to be sorry at all..you’re right Maam….i’m a confused soul right now…;)
            Born in bangalore, 23 years there, guess that makes it home anytime..
            right now in California,USA, doing my masters..
            so which is home???Where i am at the moment??? Where the heart is??
            and the grandiose home I have none thingi is from Johnathan Livington Seagull….

  4. July 22, 2004 at 1:10 am

    Freinded you, finally. I’ve had enough of pretenses 🙂

    • July 22, 2004 at 5:37 am

      Finally:) Can I too?:P

      • July 22, 2004 at 10:03 pm

        Yes please. It makes it more easy to read you, right there on my friends page; that’s what clinched the decision more than anything else: incorrigible laziness.

  5. September 16, 2004 at 1:03 am

    I guess thats how life is…
    i have seen this happenin before … if they ask for money and u refuse they just abuse and leave… and considering the fact that u were her regular customer… i cant imagine how u feel abt the whole thing…..
    well cause of this one thing.. u will think twice before helping someone….

    • September 16, 2004 at 1:47 am

      Well, yes, the intial feeling was of betrayal. But then there is so much to it. Coudnt help thinking what kind of life these street kids have. Am not sure life has thrown them too many chances, where they think of trust, loyalty and things like that.

      With that realization came understanding (well, to a certain extent), and unfortunately..resignation.

  6. February 6, 2012 at 1:54 pm

    Hi. I’ve seen the odd, insightful comment from you on blogs of suddenlynita and pritygirl. I’d always wanted to get around to reading your blog, but procrastinator par excellence that I am, I never got around to doing it before today. I’ve been reading your blog in reverse, starting with your post from 2010, enjoying the nostalgic ones and feeling your angst in the others. While I’ve been on lj for a few years now, it’s only of late that I’ve really started exploring and time and again, I hit abandoned blogs of people who used to write their hearts out, here. Your blog is one of the few that I’ve come across that I felt an instant connect to and I fervently hope that you haven’t given up blogging here. I’m adding you on as a friend and I hope you see this and add me on too, and resume blogging here. A lot of people probably gave up blogging here thinking that all the people have left. I just want to remind you that new people are coming up too. Probably not in droves, not in hoards, but they are tricking in, and many are reading blogs like yours wistfully, thinking how nice it would be if these people posted more often. I’d love to be able to read more of your posts.
    Cheers,
    Prashanth Chengi.

  7. February 6, 2012 at 1:54 pm

    Hi. I’ve seen the odd, insightful comment from you on blogs of suddenlynita and pritygirl. I’d always wanted to get around to reading your blog, but procrastinator par excellence that I am, I never got around to doing it before today. I’ve been reading your blog in reverse, starting with your post from 2010, enjoying the nostalgic ones and feeling your angst in the others. While I’ve been on lj for a few years now, it’s only of late that I’ve really started exploring and time and again, I hit abandoned blogs of people who used to write their hearts out, here. Your blog is one of the few that I’ve come across that I felt an instant connect to and I fervently hope that you haven’t given up blogging here. I’m adding you on as a friend and I hope you see this and add me on too, and resume blogging here. A lot of people probably gave up blogging here thinking that all the people have left. I just want to remind you that new people are coming up too. Probably not in droves, not in hoards, but they are tricking in, and many are reading blogs like yours wistfully, thinking how nice it would be if these people posted more often. I’d love to be able to read more of your posts.
    Cheers,
    Prashanth Chengi.

  8. February 8, 2012 at 9:23 am

    Must have been very hard on you, a freak incident like that one. You would have felt all sorts of trying emotions, all at once. Guilt, shock, fear, disgust, misery, anger, helplessness..
    I would have shivered too.

  9. February 8, 2012 at 9:23 am

    Must have been very hard on you, a freak incident like that one. You would have felt all sorts of trying emotions, all at once. Guilt, shock, fear, disgust, misery, anger, helplessness..
    I would have shivered too.

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