It was a Monday morning, and I woke up as lazily as ever; got ready and left home by 7.30. I was going to miss my office bus by a mere 30 mins. Sometimes I wish if I could shed all that laziness, that's so deeply entrenched in me, I could potentially save on so much money that I spend commuting to office daily.
As I stepped out of the building I found it was still pretty dark for this time of the day. I looked up to the skies ...it was overcast....seemed like it may rain anytime...but being true to itself...Bangalore rains pay a visit only during the evenings. However, after I took a few steps, I could sense an unusual calm ...almost foreboding, even though I was used to these surroundings. J.P.Nagar 7th Phase (place where I stay in Bangalore) is bereft of all the hustle and bustle, typically associated with Bangalore. I had barely walked for five minutes and I was already lost deep into my thoughts. The route was customary and I just had to pay enough attention on the road so that I don't bump into anything. So apart from the sense of sight, all other senses of mine were now facing inwards attending to my day dream.
And then I heard someone call me from far away (or I thought so)...I didn't pay much attention (thinking it wasn't meant for me). Then, another call. This time I had a feeling ...maybe I am the person being addressed here. When I looked around, I found a young girl standing barely 5 feet away, asking me something. All this while I was only hearing some sounds, but couldn't make much sense out of them. I had to return to reality. I looked at her with a sense of apology, having mistakenly ignored her words. She then spoke in a very tender voice "Can you give me 5 rupees?" I was a little taken aback...this wasn't normal. I looked at the girl carefully; she was neatly dressed in her brown school uniform, carrying a big school bag on her back. I again asked in a startled tone..."What???" the reply didn't change. I was now sure, I didn't hear anything wrong. She said she wanted 5 rupees to buy a pen; a red pen. I told her, red pens are only used by Teachers; Why does she need one? She came up with a reason (reason I cant recall now) which I found to be good enough then. But instead of handing over the 5 rupees, I offered to buy her the pen myself. When went to a bakery nearby ( that was the only shop I could see open at 7.30 in the morning), hoping he stocked some Red Pens. But he had only blue ones :( .....the other shop I knew was off the main road, and she had her school bus to catch. So I handed over a 5 rupee coin, but only after I got an assurance from her that she will only spend it on buying a Red Pen and nothing else. There is no way I can verify that she kept her promise, but I believed in her and I do trust kids in general to not lie. I hope she did keep her promise and did not spend it on some frivolous stuff.
We bid adieu and she started walking towards her bus stop and I took an auto to go to my stop, from where I would get my bus to Whitefield. However, my thoughts suddenly went back to the kid, and why I handed over the 5 rupee coin. I am generally averse to giving out any free money, especially to strangers, unless I see a pressing need to do so. I don't even give out a single penny to beggars, no matter how wretched a condition they are in. Did I relent because of her innocent face or her spotless appearance suggested me that she wouldn't have any other motives. I am sure I would not have shelled out a penny to a beggar kid even though it was apparent that he would need it much more than this kid did. So its definitely not because she was a kid that I helped her. The larger question here is, do we trust people who are well off (materially), more than those who are children of a lesser God? Take a second to think over this! Will you entrust your house (for a day) to a relatively affluent friend, who has a questionable history, over your maid who had been working at your place for quite some time and has been absolutely honest? The answers might differ, depending on your comfort level, and so I wont take any sides. But a third person would definitely advise you to trust your friend over the maid...well, on most occasions! The underlying assumption is that, people who have a plenty would not do ugly things as opposed to those who are not as blessed. That is the voice of reason.
Is this the reason why money (and material) chases people who already have them in plenty. Or should I say, it gets pushed to those people. Which explains why rich get richer and poor remain poor. Nobody is ready to finance them. However, as they climb up the social ladder, we invariably doubt their means and frown at the new money that's brought in. Maybe, deep down there is this basic instinct (rather animal instinct) within all of us that wants to see 'status quo' being maintained, that is if you are not among the deprived lot.
I guess I have digressed enough....but these are just some random thoughts that disturbed me after the incident.