Friday, June 04, 2010

Whatever Happened to Compassion?

As often happens I can't resist a sob story. So at my railway station, totally exhausted by the day, and with a trace of a backache on my behinds I stopped hear the story of this couple. The man was dressed in a traditional pheta and kurta and dhoti, all white and the woman was wearing a nine-yard sari, faded and of indeterminate colour. They had come to the city to meet relatives and were broke and didn't have the guts to ask them for money for the journey home (loss of face?). It was a situation that could happen to you and me. They don't live in our age of ATM cards and credit cards.

Curiously they asked me for a "Vada-pau" (potatoes fried in gram batter and tucked inside bread) as they were hungry. So I gave them money to buy two "Vada-paus" and wished them well. You know, with farmer suicides and all I know what our rural folks are going through. The need today is for compassion.

When I joined the queue for a rickshaw, homeward bound, I heard a prosperous-looking and nattily dressed couple say in Marathi, "Look at those con artistes, trying to fool the public."

Hm. Con artists? Whatever happened to compassion, at least for your own compatriots?

2 comments:

ms said...

these are the same people who spend thousands of rupees at a restaurant but chase away beggars who only want one rupee. a fellow human being is hungry, how can a sane person ignore that? during my travels, i have seen people with signs "will work for food", or once in melbourne, an emaciated man was lying on the footpath. he had written "just short of $5 for renting bed at a salvation army hostel for the night". i put down a dollar, thinking he must have collected so much since morning. what he did next restored my faith in mankind: he rubbed away at the $5 and wrote "$4". usually when children ask for money, i try and give them some eatable. failing that, i give them an amount which will help them a little but will not change my lifestyle. sometimes, it is only 50 paise. but i sleep better at nights. small price to pay for my inclusion into the race of man.

John said...

Ms, that was a kind gesture in Australia and the man was honest enough. Thanks.

J