Wednesday, 29 January 2014

The Art of Professional Begging

Though I have nothing but empathy and a few tears for the poor, I can’t help but be intrigued by the recent trends in begging that have quite changed since I first started observing the methods and techniques used in the profession. Yes, that’s quite right. I wrote and I meant ‘trends’ in begging. The 21st century has, I've observed, brought a number of changes in the styles with which begging is carried out. I talk not of those who are forced to do so because of circumstances one well understands, but I talk of those who are capable and still opt to beg. I’m writing about the Professional Beggar.

There are a number of marked changes in the way this profession is carried out by these professionals in modern times and after intense research (roaming around and chilling), I've come to the conclusion that these beggars are developing a system to systematically get money from those who are sympathetic to the plight of the people who are really in need. This, in turn makes them cons and not beggars. But since there seems to be no differentiation at the current time, I've made up the term, ‘Professional Beggars.’ Oh, I can make up terms because I have poetic licence. Hope Arnie doesn't ask me to defend my statement against the poor of the nation because the country wants to know what the hell Poetic Licence is, just because he doesn't.

Well, now getting to the point. The first change in trend can be seen at the financial level, which is the whole point of begging in the first place. These professionals do not accept small change anymore. If you give them anything less than a ten rupee note, they will not accept it. Yes, crazy, I know. But that seems to be the truth. One rupee, two rupees and five rupees hold no value for them anymore. Inflation you see!

Then there is the language. These professionals have started picking up English and in a big city like Ahmedabad, one can routinely find these professionals begging in English and that too not very politely. Moving on with the times, you see.

Even the attitude of these professionals is noteworthy. They apparently seem to think that it is their fundamental right to receive alms from society. They believe that they are entitled to the hard-earned money of the people who really work for it. And as mentioned above, nothing less than a ten rupees note. I've actually seen one of these professional throw a couple of coins in the face of the gullible youth who gave it to him. Poor guy was aghast! Oh, and yeah, they sometimes keep talking to someone else when somebody is reaching out to give them money. Talk about lack of professional courtesy.

Another trend that is fascinating is that when a kind soul offers them food instead of money, they flatly refuse. Now, I guess they haven’t heard the adage, ‘Something is better than nothing.’ They also want the right of choice. Firstly, they have no intention to work. Secondly, they should not be even getting the food that is being offered. And still they are stony-faced when offered food. They just up and turn away muttering swearwords at the person who is feeling sorry for them.

Last, but not the least, I come to the point of the religion-mongers who attempt to sell their God to anyone and everyone in the middle of the road. Now one might say that this is not a new trend. Agreed. But what is new is that these people then mutter curses and invoke the wrath of the Gods upon those who refuse them alms. Now that is novel! That didn't used to happen before.

Now, as mentioned above, these patterns have been carefully studied by yours truly and I hope that one day, with society getting smarter to this nonsense, this profession will delve into insignificance.