It was the same road, the same junction, but nothing different to do for them. For us, it was the same mall, the same stores, the same movies, and nothing different to do either.
They did not have a choice. We did.
We decided to drive to Pearl Valley.
We spent some time there and headed back.
We were on the bike waiting for the guys in the car to catch up.
We were on their road, on their junction.
We were famished, hoping our friends would come faster, so we can choose where to eat. They were famished too, hoping we would buy their stuff, and get their food at the end of the day.
They were relentless. We were too.
It is absolute shame to feed the Beggar Mafia. Especially when they toil on their tiny feet all day long and some monster benefits from it!
We felt sad, wanting to help them, and not the Mafia, but not knowing how.
Then we had a thought.
We asked the person selling the sugarcane juice give him a glass of juice.
He was confused at first.
Then he drank the juice and smiled at us.
Then, there were more of them.
We became their 'juice-buyers'.
Now they did not even ask us if we wanted the pen they were trying to sell.
They said 'Akka, Nangu one loTa juice?' (Sister, can I have a glass of juice too?)
We left soon after, when our friends joined us. We discussed and chose where we wanted to eat tonight, how much we wanted to spend and what we wanted to eat tonight.
The irony of it was all coming back to me. I felt helpless. But again, I was happy I chose to not do the wrong thing, and did the right thing instead.
Their smiles of thanks had just made my day.
It is very disheartening to see these small kids begging, for no choice of their own and all the money they earn go to someone else. I try to keep a packet of biscuits or buns in my bag, which I gave the kids when they came asking me to buy something. I hope others are encouraged to do the same and not yield to the Beggar Mafia, but help the kids directly this way.