I Want Help But I Can’t Beg

Grateful that this happened today. 

I stopped at the medical store so that my wife could pick up some medicines. As soon as she got out of the car I made a scheduled call to my brother. I did not notice that an old man had walked up to the driver’s window and was waiting for me to end my longer than usual call. When I dropped the call, he indicated to me to roll down the window as he wanted to speak to me. He tried to explain his supposedly precarious situation. He was rattling off in Marwari, a dialect that is alien to me. I had the gut feeling that he was looking for money, well  Jodhpur has enough beggars for me to be judgemental. When he paused, I told him in Hindi that I did not understand a word he had said. He started telling me his story in Hindi. Suddenly, I saw my wife giving me that knowing look which says – “Now you are trapped and will lose your hard-earned money.”  His story was that he had come from Nagaur to Jodhpur for some work and had taken break under the Neem Tree by sleeping off his fatigue. During his sleep, someone robbed him of his wallet that contained Rupees 1,100 which was all that he was carrying. Searching for his lost money he got dehydrated and collapsed. He was then taken to the nearby Mahatma Gandhi Hospital by some strangers, where the doctors recuperated him and giving him medicines, discharged him. He showed the prescription and I felt convinced. He then, went about asking people, total strangers, for help, but no one helped him. Everyone gave him some change as they would give a beggar, but he did not accept it as it would not suffice for his rail ticket to his home. Wandering for almost the entire day, he had landed up next to me. I honked my wife to come to me and asked her to give Rupees 100 from my wallet which she had taken to the medical store, so that I could help the poor man. Somehow she seemed happy and  promptly dished out the 100 Rupee note. The old man thanked me profusely and asked my address, so that he could return the money. I plainly refused and he seemed a little surprised. It was then, that he told me that he was aRajput and so he could not beg. Had he begged instead of seeking help, he probably would have collected the required money for the rail ticket much earlier. I knew that 100 Rupees was much more than the money he ever wanted but then the feeling of helping someone beyond his or her expectations is a source of great pleasure. I ‘am convinced that he was a genuine man. When I told my wife that I was rather surprised at her prompt reaction of dishing out 100 bucks, she merely smiled and said “I was expecting it to be Rupees 500!” She’s a smart woman and  knows the ways of  Jodhpur much better than I do.  I respect her for that and the fact that she understands my urge to be helpful.

 

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