I think, therefore I write

An alternate angle

Everyone in the blogging world knows about The April AtoZ challenge, it’s been doing the rounds for quite a while and a lot of people take part in it. All the while, I watched as a mute spectator. I spent a lot of minutes wondering whether I should take part in it. But then who am I kidding? I honestly don’t have the time and I don’t want force myself to write some random post and title it even more randomly so that the title starts with the letter of the day. No offense to the challenge and the bloggers who are participating (who by the way are dishing out amazing fiction for this challenge) but such challenges are not for me. Yet.

As I was mulling over this, another idea struck me and I tweeted about it. Obviously, the AtoZ post concept is appealing but the challenge of posting one every day is what takes the fun out of it for me. Why stuff so many posts in that 1 month just for the sake of it? I will do AtoZ posts on my terms. I have a lot of things to write about and as and when the idea for a letter strikes me, I will tag it under this category and write on it. This will be in the span of a year, that way I can repeat this multiple times and have fun with it. So here I am, writing the first post of AtoZ2015.

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“Decide on one soon na?” I begged hubby who was flitting between Domino’s and South Indies for lunch. Hunger makes me cranky and I lose all reasoning as time goes by. Knowing this well, hubby blindly decided on Domino’s. As we were entering the outlet, we saw a boy, in 12-14 yrs age range begging the customers for some food. His face and mannerisms rang a bell. I have seen him often in front of this Domino’s outlet begging for food and I remembered feeling disturbed by the irony of a child begging for food outside a restaurant. It’s a common thing that restaurants will have a lot of edible left overs but still the boy’s hunger was not met by any kind soul. At the same time, my hubby pointed out that a lot of people beg stating that they are hungry but refuse to take food when provided and insist on money. I had experienced such stuff too. This caused a dilemma in me. I couldn’t think straight because of my hunger and decided to be selfish and satiate my hunger first.

Soon we ordered a variety of dishes in no time. On second thoughts, I felt that we might have ordered more than we could eat. I shrugged the feeling with a “Who cares? We can always take home if there’s much left over.” As I was eating through the delicacies on my table, I couldn’t help but glance at the boy through the glass doors. And I kept wondering why life is so two-faced. On the inside of the glass door sat people like me, relishing the food and A/C that they could easily afford and outside was a poor boy in the scorching heat begging for food. I couldn’t bear it. I quickly took the box of Taco Mexicana I had ordered and poured out a glass of diet coke I had ordered and went out to the boy. I was skeptical if he would accept food instead of money but was relieved when he did.

Having relieved my guilty conscience, I ate my lunch happily, paid up and left. As I came out of the restaurant, I found the same boy begging again. I was wondering if what I gave him was not enough but I could see that he had not finished eating whatever I had given him in the first place. I got angered that my act couldn’t stop him from begging and maybe I couldn’t even if I give him more food. I left the place in a huff in a helpless state. But my mind kept going back and as my mind calmed down, I could see the rationale behind the boy’s act.

I provided him one meal. He might have a family with many mouths to feed. Even if that’s not the case, who guarantees his next meal? Who ensures that he doesn’t get beaten up by the mafia whose business is making children beg and take the money for themselves? Without knowing anything about him, what makes me qualified to judge him? The fact that I have provided him a single meal? No!

The situation looks entirely different from the boy’s angle. That alternate dimension or perspective is something that we often forget. What does it look like when you are the one getting the raw end of the deal? That angle is something that will make us shudder and thank our stars that we are not there. Yes, I can do an act of kindness but that single act might not change someone’s life altogether. Such people are fighting the battle of survival.

I resolved that I will never judge anyone like this again. Yes, there is a possibility that the boy falls into the category of greedy beggars insisting on money when offered good food or those people who beg to make enough money to get drunk or high or things like that. But there is also the alternate possibility of him having a family that depends on him, him being an orphan who has to take care of himself at an age when children should be pampered and protected. And I will respect that possibility, however low it is.

Until later 🙂

12 Comments

  1. Sid

    The alternate angle is something that most of us fail to look at. Unless it is to say that the the ‘grass is greener on the other side’, when we are in ‘THE LESS FORTUNATE’ situation.
    Kudos to you for giving him a well-deserved meal.
    But to also play Devil’s advocate, I always feel that if we give them money for begging, they will continue to do so. In your case, you gave him food, which is a different thing.

    • Keirthana

      True Sid! When we are better off, again we consider only our perspective and sometimes when we are the lesser fortunate in any situation, we consider only our perspective and whine about how difficult it is for us.

      Also I agree with the money thing. As a principle, I don’t encourage children begging because in most cases it is really not helping them. I give them food or clothes which can be used by them. Otherwise, I give whatever I can to the elderly and physically challenged. Given the poverty conditions in our country, we still have a long way to go to change all this.

      Thanks for reading!

  2. Uma

    How often we miss seeing the alternate angle of a story because we are so immersed in our egoistic and self-righteous state! So glad that you offered the boy food. Very often, our good thoughts remain with us and we fail to act doubting our own acts or its effectiveness.
    And, I like your idea of doing an A-Z post-series for the year too. As for me, I’ve lost touch with my writing self once again!

    • Keirthana

      The self doubt kills even that small act we could have done. So I have decided to do what I can and if I want to reflect on it more, I will do it in retrospect. Sometimes retrospect helps!

      And yeah this way A-Z sounds more fun to me and I can actually write on topics I want as and when I get them instead of squishing a title to a post just because it has to meet that letter condition.

  3. Ranjini

    I have had a similar experience. I met an old flower selling lady for whom I have collected some funds. Some people thought that I am helping her so that she wouldn’t have to work again at this old age. I am just doing it to ease her life a bit. I know she wouldn’t stop working because she has been doing it for a long time. She did it with her husband. And I know she cant stop. The funds I collected wouldn’t be one-tenth of her total debts. Yet, if I could make her smile a bit, that is an achievement.
    Sometimes, there isn’t a final solution for things due to the alternate angles.
    I am glad that you helped that boy, even more glad that you understood the truth. But don’t stop. Keep doing these tiny deeds. Tiny drops make the mighty ocean. 🙂

    PS: Love the font.

    • Keirthana

      True Ranjini! It’s not that we should stop because our simple helping act doesn’t change their lives. We are at least putting a smile on their faces even if temporarily. Maybe someday, somehow, something we do just like that might change someone’s life for the better.

      Thanks for reading!

  4. Nisha

    I don’t like to give anything to people who beg on the road. I know it is not a choice that they make, but I always feel that there must be some alternative. I feel bad for those who are ‘kidnapped’ by gangs for begging, but again, there has to be a way out.
    It is a big dilemna whether to feel sorry for them or not.

    • Keirthana

      Yes I had a very strict principle of giving only to very old people or physically challenged people who cannot take care of themselves. But then, what can you do when you see so many such people everyday. So I try to give them something that they can use for themselves. In a way, I am being selfish and I am making sure that I get the satisfaction of seeing my donation put to use. But in this world of mafias and misused charity, I don’t want to take chances.

  5. Kokila Gupta

    Yes , the Alternate Angle is missed by most of us.. But no matter what you do , its always a tricky situation a helpless one …if you give money – you will feel wrong, if food like you did and like usually do – again wrong as they’ll still beg and even if you;ll give clothes, money and food , still its only a drop in the ocean of their misery.
    What they need is a chance to EARN .. it will be ensure daily meal, clothes and some security BUT the BIG question is how can we/ from where? I guess the least one can do is to think about ‘that moment’ only.
    I am always confused… sigh !

    • Keirthana

      I am also often left confused and helpless, guess there is nothing more than to do what we can at that point of time.

      Thanks for reading Kokila!

  6. Aathira

    Well said, K! You did the right thing. And yes, we have no right to judge anyone as we have no idea about the choices that they are forced to make. It hurts me to see children begging, for food or money 🙁 Sadly, it has become a common sight in our country.

    And good luck to you on the A to Z, girl! Do your thing at your own pace. That’s what blogging should be about. I shall be back to read more 🙂

    • Keirthana

      Thanks Aathira, it does break your heart, doesn’t it? But there is very little that we can do. I just hope at least if all of us do that small act of kindness whenever we can, it will someday be enough.

      Thank you again!

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