Saying No to the Beggar Boy

“Rupee Madam, rupee”
A small scruffy boy
Couldn’t be more than five years old
Tangled, dirt filled, unkept hair
Shoeless, spilt cracked feet
Too small clothes in tatters
Dry, crusty, caked up runny nose

“Rupee Madam, rupee”
Gesturing hand to mouth, an act of proof
Needing money for food
Yet – lacking desperation
Holding no conviction
Playing out the scene by rote
I notice his burnt out left eye

“Rupee Madam, rupee”
This child from birth
Destined to beg
On the busy upmarket streets of Delhi
No self
For – his self was stolen
By the man who demands he dance The dance of a beggar boy
In askance of money
The same man who burnt out his eye those few years ago
Claiming himself as the owner of this boys self

“Rupee Madam, rupee”
His eyes, devoid of life
Repeating the same phrase thousands of times
Each day
White people give
For they are not used to seeing a boy with nothing – not even an eye
They still have compassion
They feel helpless in a situation such as this
For all his worldly street knowledge – this is the biggest fact he is wise to

“Rupee Madam, rupee”
I ask myself whose hand I am feeding
– If I so choose to donate funds
I ask myself what it takes to end the dreaded cycle
The enslavement of the destitute children of India
I ask myself why these children were born into an existence so harsh

“Rupee Madam, rupee”
“No” I say looking into his one good eye
Well trained he is relentless
“Rupee Madam, rupee”
Does he sense I am walking on
Wishing to help
Yet accepting this circumstance as what it is

Loosing myself in the thick Delhi crowd
I am forever left wondering
With unanswered questions
About the beggar boy with the burnt out eye

“Rupee Madam, rupee”

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