"Most people do not pray, they only beg"
- George Bernard Shaw-
Beggars are funny people. I meet this lady almost everyday as I walk down a regular street. She sits in the same corner, sometimes lost in thought, sometimes drinking coffee given by men from a nearby hotel and at times actually begging, something for what she sits there for. If you look at her from close you will feel she is pretty dignified for the job, and the best part is her smile. Yes, she occasionally does! And with that for me she has now turned a known stranger. What surprises me is be it sun, be it rain nothing stops her. Every time I look at her I am compelled to think "Is she as helpless as she looks?" At the first few instances I did give her a few coins like most of us would do. I do not know if that has changed any part of her life. You know what, blood runs cold when someone comes to us in shattered clothes, arms outstretched and takes the name of the Lord. Half of us shove them away, half of us get away with the coins in our wallet. Beyond this there is no serious thought.
Life is such that we all fall short of something, not just money. And to keep it going we need to convince ourselves that days will definitely get better if we intend to make them so. Imagine if the whole world was on the road for whatever each one of us need. No matter what our backgrounds are before even thinking of dealing with a problem most of us die for an easier way out. Maybe that makes us feel human enough. What would make you sit on the road? What would make you give up your dignity? Poverty for many is a justification, hunger is the reason. But I doubt if it actually is.
It is a sticky business. The question precisely is this, what do you do if you spot someone begging. Ignore them and it pinches some corner of your heart. Encourage them by giving them a coin and you know you are just adding up to the problem. There lies the paradox. And how many of us would get down from the car or stop walking and talk to the person, listen to their problem and get him or her into some kind of effective rehabilitation. The picture is more complex than it appears and it will stay so because each one of us is busy drawing our own. That's life.