Monday, April 16, 2007

One Good Turn Deserves... a Scolding?

"Remember when you're in India, you better not give the beggar children anything. You just give a one rupee coin to one of them and suddenly, you'll have a mob of them surrounding you!"

My Mom, just before I left for Manipal a year ago

A week ago when I was heading for dinner, a trio of the scruffiest, smelliest beggar kids waylaid me, shouting repeatedly their trade mantra, "Baya, baya1". My premeditated response to them would be to dodge, feint, parry, thrust, and dash off as soon as they present an opening. I had so much practice I'll bet that no preadolescent schoolboy in existence now can beat me at "Hantu Galah".

But that evening, I was in a Good Samaritan-ish sort of mood. Instead of employing my usual diversionary manoeuvres, I reached into my pocket, drew out a 5 rupees coin, and dropped it into the hand of the trio's ringleader2.

Suddenly, an old bespectacled uncle wearing a voluminous, white robe appeared out of nowhere and homed in towards me. He then proceeded to reprimand me in rapid-fire, accented, and seriously-broken English3. After blinking stupidly several times and asking him to repeat twice, I managed to understand the following;
  • He saw me giving money to the beggar children.
  • He no like that.
  • I very stupid.
  • The beggar children will wait on this road everyday for money.
  • He no like that too.

I just kept nodding and agreeing because he was brandishing his umbrella in a threatening manner he was an old man and we should always be courteous to the elderly. After he's completely satisfied that I've learned my lesson, he walked off in a huff, muttering "stupid" a couple more times within earshot for good measure.

And oh yeah, the trio of beggar kids (now 5 rupees richer) is nowhere to be seen at all. How's that for gratitude? They should be bombarding that uncle with cow-sh!t for me.

1 Shaki assured me that "Baya" meant "Big Brother" in Kannada, the local dialect. The first time I heard it, I thought some smart-ass Malaysian student had taught the local junior paupers how to say 'pay' in Malay. It's always a little intimidating seeing a troupe of them running towards you hollering what you imagine to be "Bayar, bayar!"
2 Manipal students would know him. He's the one with a small, skin drum strapped to his side. Bugger.
3 They pronounce my surname as 'kook' here. The way they pronounce the rest of my name is beyond description.

Anyway, here's a video I've been meaning to put up for quite awhile for a post I penned last month. The reason for the delay was that my camera only record in the stubborn, stupid .mov format which none of the programs I have can edit. Apparently, Quicktime 7 Pro has video chopping capabilities but it'll cost me $ to "go Pro" from my generic edition. So I downloaded a hacked version of it using Bittorrent.

That post I'm referring to is here; CLICK ME!

k0k s3n w4i


Rabbit said...

Yay! ur 5 rupees actually made their day eh i suppose? or days? =p

Heartless Dick - Innshan said...

First of all, it's illegal to beg according to the Indian rules. So, it's not wise to give them the money.

Secondly, if you give them the money, they'll never learn to work. They'll grow up as a beggar.

Thirdly, they can work. You can see many children of their age already working hard for pay by not begging.

Fourthly, that old man is wise. Believe me. There's a reason for him to say so. He knows a lot more than you (a foreigner) knows.

But, anyway. I rather buy food for them than giving them money.


k0k s3n w4i said...

More like part of a day. Tat can maybe buy them a single piece of parota to share between them.

@headless dick - innshan
First - It's illegal to beg, but not illegal to pay beggars. And it's not like the police care-la, haha.

Second - I don't usually pay them(I said as much when I talked about my "premeditated response"). I just don't feel like running that day.

Third - Maybe little drummer boy can work. But not his two cronies. And it's not quite as easy to get a job his age as you think.

Fourthly - I'm pretty positive that the old man wasn't thinking about the socioeconomic impact of obliging beggars. From his tone, it's more like he just doesn't like beggars to hang around that street he walks through everyday. (Or maybe he's just pissed I did not pay him the 5 rupees instead, you can never know)

And you buy them food? *use all of innshan's reasons against him back*

Hypocrite King - innshan said...

Just want to emphasise that. I'm a hypocrite. lolz

michellesy the reforming cynic said...

Awww...that was a nice thing you did (legalities and should-or-shouldn't-haves aside).

Maybe I should start doing the same, rub some of that cynicism off y'know? *winks*

I'm actually a sucker when it comes to kids and the elderly (especially those who look really frail, like they'd break if you looked at them the wrong way, the elderly, not the kids that is). Which is why my cousin's kids take shameless advantage of me when I go home for hols.

Disclaimer: I love kids, I do, but within the bounds of reason. The bounds of reason I have found can be rather stretched by lil critters such as these

1. The kid who tried to bite me on the ankle - happened to me during one of my paediatic placements. His mom stood by and watched.
2. The kid who planted an upended ice-cream cone right in the middle of a merchandise display stand - happens at the shop where I work p/time more often than you'd think. Guess who had to clean it up? =S

michellesy said...

oh yeah, the elderly that i am such a sucker for? probably wouldn't include the indian dude who threatened..ummm...brandished the umbrella at you.
i like my elderly placid and preferably not too feisty XD

k0k s3n w4i said...

Finally, a pat on my back! LoL...

My cousin kids thought of me more like a stern uncle than a playmate. My bad actually, I am always sitting in a corner with a book.

And that kid who bit your ankle, you sure the lil bugger isn't some hairless subspecies of gibbon? And why on earth is 'it' on the floor? Plus, won't the mom worry about the hygiene hazards of an ankle diet? Wish you have a video to show - it'll be a classic on youtube.

michellesy said...

the video would probably show me wincing in pain before kicking the little shite out of the room....i mean....reprimanding him firmly but gently ;)