I saw him again, standing by the roadside. Today he was wearing a yellow T-shirt which was torn at the sleeves. As soon as the traffic light turned from green to red he started running towards the first car which caught his eyes. It was a white car waiting ahead of me. By quick wipes with his orange handkerchief, he started to clean the windsheild of the already shining car.
The driver tried to tell him not to jump around with his dusty cloth but he was adamant. I knew that very soon he would start knocking at the glass of the driver’s seat. As usual the driver lowered the window and put some coins in his muddy hands. Now he came to me. Breaking the tradition I lowered the window and offered him a packet of biscuits. It is a hard task to say no to an innocent face but I did not want him to make begging his means of living. “Thanku”, he said with a smile (he remembered what I taught him a few days ago… Victory?) and ran to his other mates to share his share of earning with them.
People often give alms to these little children by the roadside thinking that they are helping them. Is it the correct way to offer a helping hand to a child? By giving a few coins which sooner or later would be snatched away from their tiny hands which are not made to wipe cars and beg for food?
Some of you might get offended for being discouraged for the act of kindness but have you looked at it from this point that what if some day you fail to cross that street where you offer a penny or two to that little man. Who might be waiting with his gleaming eyes looking for you to be the source of his piece of bread. Have you wondered who would feed him that day?
I guess we fail to comprehend the right means of being kind and helpful to the people with hard luck. By offering them alms might bring a day’s bread to their hands but they start depending on us for everything they need. Their generations too, grow up looking at the vehicles like ATM or banks moving on the roads.
Life by the roadside is tough and it is nobody’s fault if someone had to live it that way but by extending our hands which instead of pulling them up, pushes them into deeper darkness is close to a crime. If someone wants to be a real source of light to them, then do something that would make them independent. Teach them how to earn the living with hardwork and respect and not by offering them everything the easy way.
Instead of offering money to the children help them to read a word or two. If the money was supposed to feed them then offer them food with a smile and see how they rejoice. If you really want to make a difference then make sure it is a permanent one which does good to them. It is better to offer nothing than to give false hopes to the people who already know the harsh reality of the life by the roadside.