A few weeks ago, three of my friends and I had gone to the ice cream parlor. With the outside sitting, I was able to notice things that were happening around the store.
There I saw this girl and her brother who were selling balloons to everyone who was standing nearby. But during those 15–20 minutes that we sat there, she was unable to sell any.
From the way she was looking at the people eating ice-cream, I was sure that this was something she would have been dreaming about everyday.
When four of us guys came out, she looked at us. But since none of us looked like someone who would buy a balloon, she didn’t come to us.
I went to her and gave her a 10 Rupee note and started talking with my friends while drawing my two-wheeler out of the parking. What I didn’t notice was that girl asking my friend which color balloon he wanted. He said that they didn’t want any balloon.
She was in a hurry as I guess she had got enough money to buy two ice-cream scoops for her brother and her. So she just put one blue balloon on the seat and said three words before rushing to the counter.
They got their ice-cream and they started eating it while sitting on stairs. She was totally into that happy moment of her day (probably her week) and her three words kept me in shock for the next few hours.
What she said was: Bhikhari nahi hai. (Translation: We aren’t beggars)
Those were the words that opened my eyes to the way I had started looking at the world. That girl who was trying to earn a small money by selling balloons was- in my mind- a beggar. But the way she held her self respect high by giving that 10Rs balloon even when I didn’t ask- showed that those were the people who were trying to earn something the way they could rather than just begging.
From that point of time, I learnt the quality that those roadside vendors had which the beggars didn’t. They were holding their heads high. They were trying to earn to survive through one way or other.
I did hurt that little girl’s self respect by treating her like a beggar and I couldn’t turn the act back, but…
Maybe next time- if I have an option of buying (let’s say) fruits from a vendor with a lawry or from a supermarket, I’ll prefer the former. (And also, I won’t bargain.)
For all those who have seen Vivo Y series smartphone’s ad of blurring judgemental stares through portrait mode, maybe at times, it is us who are being unnecessarily judgemental to the world. Is there any smartphone available which can clean our minds?!
-Arjuna@War (Parth Shah)