Surrounded By Outstretched Hands

Today’s Indian Express newspaper has an interesting article in their supplement page. This article, written by a civilian, tells us about her recent visit to Marine Drive in the city of Cochin with her friends. They wanted to take a walk on the sea front walkway and enjoy some cold coffee as they walked. However they were soon surrounded by a gaggle of beggar kids.

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As the girls tried handing over a few coins to the kids, it soon became a riot with some kids holding on to the girls’ clothes demanding to drink what they thought was “juice” in the large coffee cups. Soon one kid threw back a Rs.2 coin at the writer as he had seen one other kid getting a Rs.5 coin and he demanded the same! The girls were being assaulted by the begger kids and no one offered to help them. Instead a few men were laughing at their plight!

This incident brought back memories from when I was about 17 and I was on my way to a class on Sunday. This institute was about a 15 minute walk from the bus stop at Ernakulam South Junction. As I made my way, I was approached by 2 begging kids. I handed over Re 1 coins to them and soon was surrounded by atleast 12 of these kids! By mistake I handed over a Rs. 5 coin to one and each was now demanding the same and I was being overwhelmed. It took some deft manouvering and some quick thinking before I could escape.

Having had been in the same situation (although mine was waaay back in 1993) I could sympathize. People and, I hate to this, especially Malayalees like to watch other suffer and then comment about it. Get up off your asses and do something!

One thought on “Surrounded By Outstretched Hands

  1. Something that my mother once told me as a child comes to mind. The kids have to take any money that they make to some older men who control them. The men who were laughing at the girls were probably their “local guardians”. The best approach is to buy some sweets and then give them to the children. That way you can ensure that they get to eat something, and that they cannot be exploited by those men. You’ve got to feel sorry for those children though.

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