Krish passed through this signal daily for his office and invariably got stuck there.He has grown up seeing beggars and hawkers.But the nuisance at the signal is unbearable.Hordes of small children and young women with nursing babes in arms in scanty clothes that hardly cover swarm around vehicles.Dirty children with running noses and unwashed hair,impoverished mothers with babes in skeletons, the lame, the lepers and sturdy boys under the pretence of selling combs,car swipes,magazines,goggles and what not, pester by tapping the doors or swiping the vehicle unsolicited.They cannot be ignored as they are a tenacious lot and take great risks when the signals turn green.
Krish felt bad.He knew that offering a few nickels or showing sympathy would hardly touch the fringe of the problem let alone solving.The kids are not in schools where they should be but begging always come rain or summer.He was sore that despite freedom for six decades, poverty is still rampant untouched by all the development plans and spending by goverments. He felt that some radical steps should be taken Suddenly he was woken up from his reverie as there were horns blaring and vehicles moving as signal had changed.The beggars also ran to the otherside where vehicles stood awaiting green
Through out the day his mind was wholly occupied by the misery he saw and his mood was low.When he met his colleagues in the office, he talked only on poverty and the steps needed to remove it.One guy said that begging should be banned in the cities while another said beggars who beg should be put in jails.None of these impressed Krish.He wished for the day when no child was seen begging at the traffic signals.
He left office early that day as he had to take his wife and son to buy some school stuff.After buying writing instruments from Staplers, they went to Bata to buy shoes for the boy who had outgrown his present set.They had the old shoes also packed and given to them.Krish’s wife said”Let us give the old pair to some poor child at the crossing” It was already 8.30pm.The car as usual stopped at the signal .He lowered the doors and wistfully looked for kids begging.Lo,not a single child was seen, even adult beggars were not visible.He saw the disappointed face of his wife. In a bit of irony, Krish wished that atleast one child presented itself to take the shoe!!