Innovative are the ways of Indians, especially when it comes to the matter of getting money by hook or crook. I bumped into one such innovation right in front of my home. To give you a bit of a background, beggarism or the beggar/begging activity is at an all time high in India, thanks to increasing rural-urban divide and poverty levels.
One can notice many different types of begging - women begging with babies that look shabby and unkempt at traffic signals, a bunch of street urchins doing acrobatics with their bodies (twisting and turning into rings and the likes) and demanding money for their acts - irrespective of whether or not they amused us, men on crutches with the arms put forward asking for money (irrespective of whether or not their limbs are ok or not), genuinely handicapped people and last but not the least - elderly who have been left desolate by their families - who neither have the strength nor the time to earn and look after themselves - begging at every possible junction to feed themselves with at least one meal a day.
There are no innovations here however. The innovative ones are much more unique in nature. People wearing a big board containing a god’s picture and holding incense sticks in their hand, begging money from you as though its their earnings that is going to decide the lord’s future itself! The eunuchs - how can I not remember them as an innovative lot! Our previous office was very close to a traffic junction that had these eunuchs swarming like bees all over the place. One open car or truck window and that’s it. The driver used to be harassed for at least 2-3 minutes until either to his luck the signal went green or he paid up the money. And these eunuchs are the ones who curse you if you dont pay up and do all kinds of things on the road (honestly it is not their fault that they behave that way, but one cannot tolerate their behaviour though) - stripping, dancing and what not.
See an interesting presentation of eunuchs who are now working in normal companies, and doing normal work like any of us. Click here to view the full story from BBC!
I have even seen people coming up with cows and trumpets every Sunday morning and blaring the trumpet with the most audacious performances of the original religious tunes that makes me wonder if the trumpets got a throat ache or the one blowing it has one! Cows are weaknesses for Indian people and we dare not insult a cow or a cow herd you see!
Having said that here comes another innovation - the Raam Bhakt Hanuman (Hanuman, the devotee of Lord Ram) - full with dress code, behavioral tactics and songs accompanied. This guy actually went to a local shop, bought himself frilled color paper strips, made an attire out of it for himself, painted his face like the monkey god himself, and hold your breath - even had a full blown tail at his back. See for yourself :
The red circle shows the tail portion from this view. He even wore a crown made of paper! On Diwali day, his innovative skill set would have surely come to a great use to earn himself some good dough. When the whole country is working towards eradicating begging, here are people who show innovation in begging!! This is a classic case of the beggar promoting himself to beg with a golden bowl !! So we will have to agree with the fact that we are beggars not choosers!