The streets are filled with trucks loaded to maximum capacity.

On the street

The streets are lined with
countless disturbing sights

I have an image burned in my memory from our walk to yoga this morning with the guru. There was a little girl begging on the street and a cross-eyed old woman with no teeth and her hands wrapped in rags. There was a man sitting near a garbage pile on the side of the road. He had a normal torso and abnormally small legs. He was sitting in a strange cross-legged pose, balancing on one foot.

We have been warned countless times that the majority of the people asking for money and food on the street are professional beggers and we should not give them money. We are told that professional beggers in India often make more money than people with legitimate jobs like tour guides.

That said, it is defeating to think that an economy can be in such bad shape to the extent that beggers have a higher income than official employees! No matter how much I try though, these sights continue to break my heart. Whether it is the old man loading doing back-breaking work loading his truck or the little girl with big eyes asking for money, I cannot help but be touched by their persistence. There is never any shame; they are just living their lives and devoted to never giving up.

Barbara Koehl

University of St. Thomas

St. Paul, MN 55105

Links checked Dec. 12, 2009

Copyright © 2009 Barbara Koehl