Beg, Borrow, Or Steal

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We have heard the term "Beg, Borrow or Steal" many times. Today, let's think of it in a professional way, in that we shall talk about people who have taken these three as a profession. Surprised?

Well, stealing is a profession since times immemorial, and even though most thieves are not well known, the profession has a recognition of its own, and has been given consideration by a variety of people, from law makers to movie makers. Our simple daily activities, like putting a lock on the door of our houses, are by-products of this profession and its recognition.

Borrowing is not that popular as a profession, though there have been many real-life and fictional characters who were almost professional in the art of borrowing. Oh, yes, I forgot to mention, I consider all the three as arts, even though not of good kind. We have all seen neighbors who borrow sugar (OK, the number is coming down), friends who borrow money, and return it, friends who borrow money and do not return it, and random people who borrow and are never to be seen again. The first two are normal, and the latter are, many times, quite professional. We have even seen Ranvir Shorey as "Dominic" in Traffic Signal, who borrows money from unknown people, by telling everyone the same story, and never returns it to them.

So both stealing and borrowing are bad professions, and quite clearly, people don't approve of them. Not stealing, not even borrowing when it becomes profession. But the one about which people have quite mixed opinions, is begging.

Begging is different from the other two in the sense that a beggar cannot hide. While a thief doesn't openly steal, a beggar begs openly, and while thieves get almost no sympathy, beggars get that and live on that.

Personally, I have never been a supporter of begging. Until a few years ago, I thought of beggars as a menace, and it was an unwritten rule that I'd not give anything away to a beggar. But, the times changed, and I realized that there were people for whom there was almost no other option in life and it was kind of necessary for them to beg. After doing a lot of thinking on the subject, I finally reached a thought I could stick to.

The thought was to differentiate between those who begged, and those who made begging a profession. After all the thinking, I decided that I could not count all the beggars as one. A young lady who begs at the busiest junction of the city, while roaming with a child held in one hand, cannot be the same as a ninety-plus aged man, who simply sits near the corner temple where you cannot guarantee ten visitors a day.

While going to my office, I pass through a half a kilometer part on a bridge where there are very few buses running and most people have to cross it on foot. On that half a kilometer stretch of road, I get to see some very interesting sights quite regularly. Besides all types of hawkers and sellers, the road has quite a few beggars too, who do their work professionally. In the mornings, I have even seen them giving finishing touches to their work attire. There have been instances where a beggar got to know from my face that I won't give him a thing, and so he decided not to give me a second look, and kept counting his money, but the next instant, when he saw two girls coming, he started crying, and they even dropped a few coins in his plate!

Begging is always for satisfying a need, for all beggars, but, what I want to say here is that for some it's the last option, while for some it's just a choice. Some just survive on it, while some make a decent living out of it (Just guessing, a Train beggar in a big city may easily get 10 trains a day x 6 coaches per train x 5 rupees per coach = 9k/month).

I do not support begging, and I do not ask anyone to give anything to a beggar, but next time, just in case you put your hand in your pocket or purse to give some money to a beggar, especially in a busy public place, do think if the money could be given to someone who really needs it, rather than someone who is making a profession out of it.

PS: Here I may sound like a socialist, who doesn't want capitalist beggars -- beggars who invest some money, work hard on their profession and earn more. But that is completely okay, since begging is a phenomena that is socialist in itself, as it tends to level the giver and the beggar. This way, capitalistic begging is a contradictory term and cannot exist.

Picture Credits: Google Images

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Pooja Sharma said...

nice post .. I wish I knew about these professions before the entrepreneurship bug hit me .. would have surely tried one of these :-)

November 2, 2010 at 8:55 PM
Kaddu said...

@ Pooja: Arre they are also entrepreneurs yaar! In their own way... ;-) :p

November 2, 2010 at 9:02 PM

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