A poor man in a tattered dress, a fragile figure and a shrunken look knocked the gate of my house some time back. My domestic helper called him in to me in my office. He had some pictures of movie stars and others in a small packet in his hand which were meant for a sale each costing Rs.3/-. He requested me to purchase one or two of them if not more. I was not interested, but I did develop an anxiety to know about his condition as he looked so disturbed and panicky. He told me:
“I lost my wife a few years back and was living with my son who abandoned me for the reason that I am a nuisance to him and his own family, suffer as I do from attacks of epilepsy every now and then. I was left with no option but to resort to begging, which my conscience didn’t permit me to do. A relative of mine helped giving me Rs.50/- out of which I bought some pictures from the road side sellers. I was eagerly waiting for some customer to buy pictures from me, but at the same time I had a fit of epilepsy falling down helplessly. When I was struggling with my disease, some one grabbed my packet containing the pictures and disappeared. The road side seller from whom I had purchased the pictures earlier was kind enough to lend me 10 pictures at the rate of Rs.2/- each which I want to sell at the rate of Rs.3/-. This will save me some ten rupees by which I can buy some bananas at least to eat as I didn’t have any food for the last 2 days.”
I did not buy his pictures telling him to sell them some where else. I offered him food and gave Rs.100/ as a token of some help. I gave him some clothes also. All this brought a smile on his tearful face and I too felt much satiated that I could share his misery at least to a meagre extent. The thought that still haunts me is that there could be numerous such instances where the people in our country are suffering so helplessly like this with no body to worry for them, neither family, nor society, nor even the government.