After All the Mayan speculations, My mind was emboldened by new year 2013. It was January 1,2013. Many of my friends went to Trichy Dominos. And few went to some restaurant in Thanjavur. As planned earlier myself and my friend Ram Dakshin headed towards the island Srirangam.
With expectation of seeing the stream of Cauvery, I sat on a window seat. And the sight of Cauvery river gave me a shock. Even the stagnant rain water would have contained more water than the current Cauvery. Thanks to Karnataka!!! No wonder Palar and Vaigai sooner or later going to have a companion.
The thought of moribund Cauvery faded as I reached the temple stop. Even one of the finest philosopher and atheist of India Periyar was welcoming the devotees of Lord Ranga with a smile. Small platform sellers were surrounded on either side of the road. Everyone was busy with their business in between the flood of crowds.
The crowd inside the temple was raising every minute. Our rendezvous with Lord Ranga Never occurred due to over filled devotees. I donated a ten rupee note in the Hundiyal and went to all others sanathis. Many old age people were begging in the Prakaras. We just ignored them(typical tamilians) and were discussing about scripts on the walls of the temple. Then we ate Puliyodarai and sweet pongal(the only item which didn’t increase over an year.Always Rs.10!!).
Already it was noon, the sun was parching our skins. we drank Mazza and waited for Thiruvaanai Koil bus. It was during this time I witnessed a disturbing incident. A man with a whiplash or whiplike object wearing small bells around his belly and the salangai around his toes and a woman with a percussion instrument Urumee were begging .The man went to all shops and got his collection. You may wonder what is disturbing in it ? Yes, there was a kid around one and half to two year old with same costume as his/her father and had small sized whiplash or whip like object.
I could assure that everyone’s eyes were fixed with that little kid with bruises all over his/her Body. That family went to the shop opposite to where we were standing. A man insisted his 4 or 5 year old daughter to give some ten or twenty rupee to that kid. The kid did his/her job, accepted those money and gave it to its father. The poor kid not even knows what money is used for.
A few minutes later came an loud noise in front of us the kid’s father whipped hardly on the road. My friend moved a step back indicating his disinterest. I turned my head away from them(especially the kid). They went past us. Our bus to Thiruvaanai Koil arrived just after I saw a five rupee biscuit packet over the Urumee. Then we got into the bus which was much much better than scorching sun.
Probably, that biscuit would have been the kid’s breakfast,lunch,dinner,snacks.,etc. The man would beat his child to create sympathy if his collection doesn’t goes well. What that kid will do when it sees the toys in the shop? What will the kid’s reaction when it see another kid of it’s age? These were the thoughts obsessing me during my travel. Without hesitation I dropped ten rupee note into the Hundiyal. Without hesitation I bought puliyodharai and sweet pongal. Without hesitation I bought Mazza to chill myself. But I Hesitated to give money for that kid. What kind of father he is, torturing his child in burning noon,that too on New year? This anger stopped me from giving the money. I thought I should have given some money to them, at least for the kid’s sake. I felt ashamed.
We reached Thiruvaanai Koil stop and got into Samayapuram bus. The bus waited for few minutes. A visually challenged man carrying another man on his back who had no legs came into the bus and sat behind our seat.Their dress indicated their poverty. Anyone would have easily misunderstood them as beggars. But they were not. That day I met two kind people who were in almost same level. One competes against his life’s challenge with his courage other surrenders and begs with sympathy of his child.
Still my mind was obsessed with the kid and still was ashamed. The first thing I did once reaching Samayapuram was giving money to a beggar. My friend too donated. To some extent it relieved me from that obsession and guilt. Everyone comes to temple with disturbed mind and leaves with relaxed mind. Well,This day it was vice-versa for me.
The little inspiration and rehabilitation for those beggars can save many kids.It is high time that the government needs to take some responsibility. Mean while we can help them if we have money and desire.