Every morning my sanity, patience, endurance and capacity is tested for quality standards as it’s race against time to catch the school bus and get my kids on it. Here, I would like to take a minute and shower the choicest of words for the bus driver. You reach on time, the bus is late. To dodge all the questions from the parents, the bus driver packs all the kids in less than a minute and zooms back. You get half a minute late, the bus driver becomes Michael Schumacher’s Avatar and the bus disappears! Needless to say that morning is not the best time to see me smiling.
The school bus picks up kids from outside the complex. This was the day when we were on time and the bus was late. I was minding my own business sitting and staring at who’s wearing what (aadat se majboor), when this woman, wearing a saree better than my house maid’s, starts distributing some sort of a yellow color pamphlet. I tried to overlook her but she kept one on my lap and continued distributing to others. Being an Indian, I am very much used to this game. Even before reading, I could visualize something written like, “My Husband died in Kargil war and I am left with my three children, help us, give us some money.” This woman was so young that having three kids before the Kargil war in which her husband died, was impossible and proved that she was after easy money.
I have my reasons for not giving a paisa to any beggar who is physically fine. If you are really old or with something wrong with your body, you qualify for money. I am not making fun of poor people here; I am just showing my dislike towards begging. If you are not old enough and you are physically fit then you should not beg. That’s my logic.
So, I continued not touching the card on my leg and acted as if I was busy googling about rarest of cancer in my phone. But unfortunately, the wind blew and the card flew and got dropped in the muddiest pothole on the road. All I could do was to watch the yellow card float on the mud until a car ran over it. Now this woman came back to collect her card and all I could do was to show vague hand gestures and point at the remains. The woman started shouting at me in a voice scarier than that of ‘Amrish puri’. This beggar woman I tell you was so manipulative that she gained the sentiment of every human being around.
The woman asked me to pay her and everyone nodded their heads in agreement. They were looking at me with such skepticism that if there was a bomb-blast somewhere that day, they would had blamed me!! I opened my purse asap, looked at the 1 rupee coins I had and as I was going to take one out, a woman sitting beside me tells me that I should pay around ten rupees to the poor woman. To stop this embarrassment, I pulled out a ten rupee note and the so called poor woman snatched it from between my fingers and fled from the spot.
The bus finally came and people dispersed after seeing off their wards. I don’t remember driving back so fast to my apartment. For the first time, I could empathize with the school bus driver aka Michael Schumacher.