Saturday, June 11, 2011

Platform #23

June 9, 2011, 10:00 PM at Majestic (KBS) Bangalore - platform #23. I was stressed out because of work, very tired, impatiently waiting for the bus to take me home. An incident took place that lasted for less than ten minutes.

I saw an old woman - probably between 75-80 years of age, grey hair, wearing thick specs, old cotton saree - stretched out her arm in front of a young man. She was given one or two rupee coin. She thanked him and started approaching me. I generally don't entertain beggars of any kind, because I have the feeling that the money I give them is not being used constructively; most of them end up in spending money on bad habits like smoking, drinking, etc and most of all these people are ill mannered.

As she came limping towards me, I observed her features; she was very fragile. By her looks I could make out that she was not a beggar herself (I don't know how I deduced that). She stretched out her arm. I saw extreme emotional pain in her face so vividly that tears filled my eyes almost instantly. I am typically a man who doesn't lose control over my emotions in situations of this kind. I really don't know why I was so much occupied by her appearance. Thoughts like "She might have been dismissed by her family. She does not have anything to feed herself" flashed my mind. I observed that her thumb was twisted. I opened my wallet, and placed a 10 rupee note in her palm. She waved her hand with gesture that said “Thank you & God bless you" and she left. I couldn't stop thinking about her. I looked around. I was almost on the verge of crying. "How could Rs. 10 help?! Its nothing! How is that old woman leading her life? Why is the world so cruel? Why is God troubling such people in a bitter way? Why is life so unfair? Why, Why, Why?" - all these questions struck my mind like thunder bolts. At this time, my fatigue was gone. I was very much disturbed and extremely moved by her condition. "Do something to help her! Do something! What do I do? OK. I will give her another 100 rupees!" She was moving away toward another platform. I ran behind her, caught hold of her, held her hand and I placed money in her palm. When I returned, unanswerable questions struck me:  "Will that money really help her? Will it be sufficient? I mean, does it serve her food to satisfy her hunger for days? If yes, for how long? May be for maximum of two days. And what will happen to her after that? How does she spend rest of the days left in her life?" I got lost in these stabbing thoughts for some time.

The bus I was waiting for finally arrived. It took sometime to pull myself all together. I still had some kind of guilt feeling that I did not help her much. Extreme thoughts like - "I should take care of her. I must do something for her betterment. Life is really cruel. We die for eating junk food and buying trendy clothes, but just look at her. She is not having another pair of clothes to wear or money to feed herself. Is God here to help her?" - passed through my mind even after the bus started its journey couple of minutes later. All these feelings came directly from my heart. I could feel the difference! I pity her.

Honestly, I really don't know what turned me so much. I wrote this post as fast as I could not to miss out anything that had happened and to read it again and again just to remind myself "Be happy with whatever you have" and "keep helping people as much as possible".
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Next morning, I was getting ready for work. I stood in front of the mirror. I asked myself "Was that really you last night? I don't think so... with those tears in your eyes... I can hardly believe it! I mean, I don't know." I discussed with my sister-in-law. She said "It's a good thing what you did by helping her! I have done it myself couple of times. I completely understand your situation. But, some people don't agree and think that we are crazy. It's really hard to watch people in such conditions. Now, let it go.”