Changing Lives

Day 6Today, you’ll write about the most interesting person you’ve met in 2014. In your twist, develop and shape your portrait further in a character study.

I thought and thought and thought about whom I should write about, who has inspired me this year or made an impression on me and I couldn’t come up with a name coz there are so many people and writing about one of them would be injustice. I read a lot of posts other people have written on this. And then I remembered a chance encounter with a beggar which changed the way I look at life.

I was standing at the metro station’s entrance, it was around the new year, waiting for a friend, when a lady beggar came to me and asked me to give her some money as she needed to feed her child. She was a normal beggar with her torn sari, a thin sweater and a child in her arms. I was first irritated as I had been waiting a long time and I don’t like giving money to beggars coz I know they don’t get to keep that money. So, I ignored her and tried to move away but she didn’t let me go. I could see that she was desperate and then I looked at her child. He was a toddler, might have been around 2-3 years of age. He looked cute but underfed and looked really dirty with all the mud on his clothes and face. I felt sympathy for that cute kid.

So I told her that I would buy her food but won’t give her money. She agreed and I bought her a packet of biscuit and some milk. She was really happy and opened the packet at once and offered one biscuit to her child. The poor child was so hungry, he ate in a second. While watching her, I started thinking that today I provided them some food but what will happen tomorrow. So I asked her why is she begging when she is fit and fine and can work to earn some money. She told me that she came to Delhi with her husband a few months back but her husband is a drunkard and whatever money he earns, he spends it on his alcohol. She told me that she wanted to work but is unable to find any as people don’t trust anyone who doesn’t have any identification.

I remembered a friend of a friend works in an NGO which educates poor children when there parents can’t afford that. I got her number somehow and called her and told her about all this and asked for her help. She told me that she don’t know anyone who can help her in this but she told me that her NGO runs a school, where they need a maid to clean the school and also help out in cooking meals for the children. But she will need to meet and talk to this lady and then decide whether she can work there or not.

I told that lady this as well. At first she was afraid but then I convinced her that she needs to do this for her child and asked her to promise me to work there with honesty then only will I recommend her there. She agreed and I gave her the address of that school and told her to go there the next day. She thanked me a lot and then went away.

I forgot all about her in the days that followed and didn’t even call that friend of mine whose help I had asked. She also didn’t call me.

After 3 months, I reached that same metro station. It had been a long  time that I had traveled that way. When I emerged from the metro station, a lady approached me. She looked familiar, then she told me that she is the same lady beggar I had met that day. I could hardly recognize her, she looked so different, she was dressed in a clean sari and had a neat bun on her head and didn’t look like that beggar I met. I asked about her well being. She told me that she had started working at that school where I had recommended her, as a maid and now she has been raised to a cook there. It turns out that she was a good cook and had impressed the school authorities with her cooking and they have helped her get an identification. And they have also admitted her child in the school. She thanked me a lot and had also made me some sweets (I forgot the name of the sweets but were very tasty), its their native dish and symbolizes blessings and is made on auspicious days. She told me that she often comes there to meet me and thank me for recommending her there.

I felt so touched with this simple gesture. I had never expected this. It feels so good when you help somebody without any expectations and their life changes for the better. Its amazing how someone’s life can be changed with a simple help from you as her life changed with a simple call I placed. That call was nothing to me but turned her life around. 🙂

After this encounter, I also changed my perspective about these beggars. I know some beggars can’t be changed but some can be helped if you just have some time to help them.

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