Thursday, July 28, 2011


It was a crowded street with shops and hotels on either side. It was close to a railway station. Every five minutes when the trains disgorged the passengers, they came out in hordes walking along the street to their destinations. There was always the hooting of the horns,the screaming roadside vendors, the babel of voices and the rattle of the tram cars. Seated at a vantage point was the young man in his torn pants and an oversized Tshirt with a towel spread before him. By his side stood the white stick with two small rows of red paint at the top and bottom of the stick. One need not be guided by this stick to know he was blind. His protruded white pupils and his contorted facial features were enough for others to see his disability.
The passersby invariably took pity on this miserable man and dropped coins on the spread towel. There were no trees to give him shade and he sat on the edge of the platform taking care not to impede the flowing traffic of pedestrians. He generally came early there and left when the sun went down on the sky. Who brought him there and where he went after the evening are unknown. They are also not of material consequence to the story. Suffice it to say rain or shine, he was seated day in and day out waiting for the munificence of the kind hearted people to keep his hunger at bay.
This day an older beggar sat by his side. He had no serious disability to evoke the sympathy of the people except that he had only one leg but had a crutch to support him when he walked. But amongst beggars there seemed no competition and the blind youngster did not mind the company. In fact he conversed with the older man making the long squatting on the hot sun less burdensome. Coins were falling at regular intervals on the young man’s towel while the older guy was not that lucky. No one ever dropped any coin on his towel. Where the coins rolled or fell out of the blind man’s towel and they were many , the older man silently took them and kept with him. He did not take however what fell on the towel. Oblivious of the deceit the young man enjoyed the older man’s company.
A kindly woman dropped a twenty rupee note out of extreme compassion but did not feel necessary to tell the young beggar of the fact. She assumed that he would as was his wont collect the contributions by feeling the towel with his hand. As soon as she walked away after lingering for a few seconds, the elder beggar quietly lifted the note and put it securely in his pocket.
“I could smell from the fragrance of flowers that a woman was standing by my side but could hear no noise of coin falling” said the blind man.
“Yes, I also observed her standing before you and opening her bag but on second thoughts walked away without giving anything. May be she had no change” the older man said.
That evening when the day was over, the older beggar asked him to wait. He fetched two packets of lemon rice and gave him one to eat.
Surprised the blind one asked the other guy why this generosity.
“You are like my younger brother. I have no one to look after. Whatever I earn I can spend. I will take care of you always. You do not have to worry. I intend to spend the rest of my life along with you. It suits me well” replied the older fellow.
The young beggar innocently said “I am touched by your affection a thing I have never received. We can even share whatever is given to me. You don’t seem to get much. People take pity on me because of my blindness.”


  1. Idhu romba annyaayam. Enna oru dhaaraalam indha old beggarkku?

  2. Apt title
    Even I find it too good a story to believe :P
    There can be generous souls among beggars as well… but one wonders how thick n close it can get!!

  3. beautiful story! and makes me think many times I have wondered about such relationships...are they good or not?

  4. Your eyes are sharp, Partha Sir! You narrate the whole scene so beautifully, brilliant!

    I never expected the old man to have even this much softness in his heart as to give him lemon rice!

    This is one of your best stories!

  5. should we call this a 'win-win'??!

  6. well written
    remembered one old movie

  7. Nice story. A symbiotic relationship in a way!!

  8. Haaa...soo bad...I hate that sort of behaviour...this happens everywhere...They are nothing less than leeches that live of the blood of others...grrr!!!