At the Velankanni train station, I waited on the dismal bench next to my brother, surrounded by our bags. My parents had gone to buy some tea and it was just me and my brother against the world. Like it usually was.
After freaking out every time a person or worse, a child, ran past us, I held onto my back pack close to my body. As time passed on a beggar woman came up to us. She asked for some money and I felt the change in my pocket get heavier. I lied saying we had no money and went back to looking to my mobile game.
She later latched her eyes onto the fruits we bought in our bags and asked us for some of that. Fearing she would keep asking for more, I refused again. My heart getting heavier as time goes on.
She didn’t move away from us and I feared for an attack. But that’s when I heard my parents voices getting louder as they come closer to us. They see the destitute woman leaning on the bench we sat on and they told us in our native tongue to not react.
They sat in the bench next to us and she passed on to my dad. After some mumbled begging, my dad gave her some money.
All this while my mother sits next to us both and informs us that she’s mentally challenged and her life was going to be dirtied by perverted men. My heart sank. It was I who preached to love the world as it is, and to tend to the poor and needy. But here I am, slashing my own words with my sad acts.
I tried to justify myself by reassuring that it wasn’t my money to give. It was my fathers hard earned money and I had no right to give it away. Then I contradict myself like the true pessimistic shit I am. I can waste it on snacks and my wants but can’t give to people for their needs.
It is at this point I detested all the offers of food and drink that my mother sent me. How dare I eat and drink when I couldn’t offer the same to the needy? My mood went from bad to worse when another beggar came up to me. I felt like a beggar magnet.
He kept calling me “maharani” loudly and persistently, like I was someone so rich. My spirit was anything but. I told him I had no money and waited for my heart to wilt. After he left, I shoved whatever money I had in my pocket into my mom’s purse, disgusted and ashamed at myself.
I wonder what I would do when I earn my own money. Would I do what I believe in or would I ignore them like I did today.