Poor Kids On The Street…

#globalite Perinjery is moved beyond words when faced with the reality that poor kids on the streets face. #servicesaturday

I cannot stand the sight of small kids, particularly girls, begging on the street for money and especially when they beg for food. Now being the father of a son and daughter when I see such kids, sometimes I imagine how I would feel if my children were in that state. The very thought gives me the creeps.

Many years ago, I was posted in Bhuj, Gujarat, as an young Air Force officer. On a Sunday evening I was out with my fellow officers in the city going around shopping and eating. On Sundays entire Gujarati families in Bhuj come out to meet each other, shop and picnic and have food outside. Even marriage alliances are discussed in parks between families picnicking. We were walking along a street when a small girl came begging to me for money. I felt so sorry for her. I asked her whether she was hungry. I told her that I would not give her any money but would buy her food. She nodded her head in agreement.

I excused myself to my friends and took her to a roadside eatery and bought her Dhabheli, a popular snack in Bhuj, and a glass of flavoured milk to drink. I sat beside her and watched her eating hungrily. I realized that my eyes were wet with sympathy and compassion towards the little one. After she finished I asked her if she wanted more. She nodded her head saying no. I asked what she would do if she was hungry again. She had the painful look in her eyes. I knew that she was part of a group where such children were brought up for begging and were given a daily target for collecting money and handing over to the head of the gang.

I felt so powerless that I did not know what to do to help her and wondered if I could do anything at all. I settled for helping her for the moment and moving on. Once again I took her to a nearby shop, bought her some chocolates, a pack of bread and a few bananas. I finally could see a light smile in her eyes and I felt a sense of satisfaction. I excused myself from the little one and walked fast to catch up with my friends who were lingering around a shop nearby.

When they asked me why I took so long, I just shrugged my shoulders and said that I got busy in being a responsible Samaritan. In the heart of hearts I was feeling very uncomfortable for leaving the little girl to her own fate.

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