Friday, February 06, 2009


I decided to walk back home from the station since I had reached much before my usual time. It was the usual chaos on the street – crowded streets, traffic jams, blaring horns, screaming street vendors – loads of noise. And the usual remedy to the maddening noise is to shut it out with music from my iPod. 

I was enjoying watching the pandemonium playing in mute, as I slithered through whatever little space which was available on the road. Finally, I was not thinking about anything but just walking. It had been a while since I manage to empty my mind. It was barely three songs before I reached my building, but I didn’t want to go. I decided to walk further away from home. 

On my directionless stroll, I spotted three street urchins, cute little kids, between the ages of three to eight. In tattered clothes and unwashed bodies, they seemed to be a happy bunch. They had found their own little game with a few pebbles and self-created rules. But it didn’t matter to them as long as they were having fun. In the middle of the game, they would remember that they were not here to play but beg – for money, clothes, food, anything which helps them get through the day. They asked me too, I could make out from the movement of their lips. They seemed to be shaping the words “Sa’ab ek rupiya de do na.(sir, give me a rupee please)”  One of them insinuated the other to touch my feet, which she did. But I didn’t give them money. I kept walking until she gave up. 

Around a corner, I saw a grocery store. I had to buy a few items for home, so I stepped in. After having mentally cross checked the memorized list, I approached the cash counter. The thought of those kids struck my mind again, so I got an additional packet of biscuits. It was but a feeble attempt to wash away the guilt due to the stone heartedness I had shown to them.     

On my way back, I stopped over and gave it them. I told them “Baantke khaana.(share it amongst yourself)” They smiled. Seeing the bread in my bag, the other one asked, “bread milegi.” I told her “Yeah ghar ke liye hai. Sorry.” 

I don’t think I needed to explain to her, but I felt obliged. I don’t think I said sorry because I was sorry for what I did, but because I felt sorry for them. 

“Sorry is a funny word”, I said to myself. Once again, my mind was brimming with thoughts.


Metallica bhakt! said...

Isnt it Ironic!
In a similar way,I was travelling by cab and had this kid sell novels and books!! he urged me for 5whole minutes to buy those books with infinite Pleads.. I just asked him,can you read the titles of those books? do you know that the book that your holding has won a BIG award? and he looked at me with those eyes which I can never forget! he said "nahi par mujhe pata hai kaunsa book jyada bikta hai uske cover se" and I all I said was "Sorry baccha mujhe nahi chahiye books!" indeed Sorry is a funny word!

Pallavi said...

I've had such experiences too. The conflict between what's done and what should have been done occupies the mind rendering it restless..The guilt lasts for a while, but wanes away with time. We are all human at the end of the day.
Those urchins you mentioned reminded me of Slumdog. I wish them happiness and maybe some day they'll grow up to be millionaires themselves.

vishesh said...

won't it be better if we could educate them...I think that would be the best thing we can do..but....

SimplyBlessedBliss said...

Ypee.. Sorry, yes a funny word!

The Illuminator said...

Yes, there a lot of things that we can do instead of just feeling 'sorry'

But such initiatives require organization and a deeper commitment which is not easy to make. We can only try.

Anonymous said...

i like this post very much. it's so true. i'll do the same - hand over biscuit packets or money if they're terribly old or disabled, and then apologize because i can't do anything else. stupid 'sorry' which serves no purpose, but we still say it anyway.