Saturday, July 15, 2006

Antorjatic Vikkuk (International Beggar)

The second you land in Bd, actually anywhere in BD, there are scores of pitiful beggars who makes you desperately rumble through ur purses and make you feel somewhat guilty for riding in the nice car with the AC. Most people in BD seem to be exhausted by them and somewhat have deaf ears to their moaning. Last year in BD, everytime we got some taka from our parents to spend, we (especially my little bro) ended up donating much of it despite the warning that we shouldn't attract too much attention. With so much violence and so little to survive on, I admire the people in Bangladesh who have managed to stay there happily.

Being approached by beggars in BD is normal, no surprise and somewhat anticipated. But it throws me off when that happens in Toronto.

Incident 1

I went shopping yesterday at STC, well actually, I went to pick up some pictures from wal-mart and on the way I stopped at every store just to chk em out and ended up buying a purse. That doesn't count as shopping, right? ANYWHO, I also stopped at the 'Everything for a Dollar' store, where you can literally buy anything for a dollar and their collections are actually better than the Dollarama! So I was just going to get some postits and from my side- someone calls "Assalamu'Alaikum". The peace wisher was a man in his late 30s. Here is what happened:

Me: wsalam?
Man: are you Pakistani?

At this point, a previous incident flashes in my mind when a my conversation with an older Pakistani man took an ikkie turn.

Me: no
Man: are you Indian?
Me: No, why do you ask?
Man: I'm Pakistani
Me: ok... (very puzzled, I know he wants something now)
Man: I am here from Pakistan, no job, no food, a Muslim brother, you Muslim, can you give me some money for food?

*sigh*, as weird as the approach was, I can't say no to that! But since I'm one of those people who just loves swiping debit cards, I didn't have cash on me.

Me: err.. Ok, sure.

I give him the very little change I had and at the same time feeling guilty for not giving him more. The man flips the dollars on his palm, and I can see the disappointment in his expression as he said ok and just left without another word

Incident 2

You often find beggars asking for change nearby subways in downtown Toronto. Apparently they make a lot of money. So much so that my bro sometimes jokes that if he cannot find a decent job, he better as well choose begging as his profession.

Once again, I was approached by one such lady, and without any hesitaion, I gave her some change with a smile.

A Black gentleman, having observed my action, jokingly took off his hat and forwarded it to me saying "Will you give ME some change?". LOL... I've been had. I rolled my eyes and passed away quickly.

On a recent visit to that particular subway, I found that lady again, dressed even better than I was!!

Incident 3

Sometimes, when I am in a super good mood, I would just drop a few changes somewhere. I don't remember what the occasion was, but a couple of years back, I dropped a note for this homeless person who was laying on the street. Leaving a few cents on his hat, the guy quickly pocketed the money so that no one else would see!

A few days later, I was told that some of these men are alcoholics. They wouldn't even work properly if someone was to give them a job and pointed to me one such person as we were walking down the street.

Poverty does exist in Toronto but it's not as transparent as in BD, neither is it so extreme. No one dies out of hunger, but people do suffer. Muslims are the poorest in some societies here, especially because a large number of them are Immigrants. There are over 30,000 homeless people in Toronto itself!! In a city where most of us are comfortably living beyond the basic needs, I guess its hightime to do something about these people. Here is what I plan on doing for now: Walk for the Homeless on July 30th


Anonymous said...

We have added your blog @ Bangladesh Blogs Aggregator . Best of luck.

2:13 AM  

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