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.
“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 🙂