Monday, 18 June 2012

The old beggar woman

Her wrinkled face and hazy eyes look out wistfully at passersby as she sits on the dusty pavement. Her nine yards 'Saree' is draped over her head and a few glass bangles tinkle as she raises her palm to catch the coin dropped in her palm by someone who has taken pity on her state. The old beggar woman sits there everyday  in the same place, her cloudy eyes searching for a loving face, in this fast moving world.

I have seen her everyday for the past 20 days. She sits outside the building where my driving school is based, with the look of resignation and helplessness in those milky eyes. Some days I drop a few coins in her hand and other days I get her Bananas and other soft fruit which she can eat with her toothless mouth.

In the hustle and bustle of life, not many of us stop and think of people like the beggar woman. A few coins dropped in needy hands takes care of the guilt and we forget them on our way to better and brighter things. For most of us, they are a part of the landscape and melt into oblivion. This time, something in me, prompted me to stop and think about this beggar woman.

Few days ago, I spoke to her and asked her who she was. 'Janabai' was abandoned by her son. She is a widow and lives alone without any support. She begs to feed herself and gets by with the kindness of strangers. My few questions brought tears in her eyes and her voice quivered when she answered my questions. Her life is filled with the worry of how to arrange for food everyday and medicines needed for her old age. 


I want to help her, but I know putting a few rupees in her hands will be of no use. I want to do something for her which will improve her life. I want her to be safe and secure.  Her face haunts me everyday.


Dear friends, I want you all to take a pause and think of 'Janabai' today. I want your help to help 'Janabai'. I want your suggestions and guidance. Anyone who has any experience in charity work, your inputs would be most welcome. 





29 comments:

Ash said...

Or you can post it on my blog http://e-pinion.blogspot.in

Smita Saxena said...

Can she npt be admitted in an old age home? Just a possibilty.

Lazy Pineapple said...

Thanks Ash...my email id is vkherdekar@gmail.com

Ash said...

I sent u a mail

Lazy Pineapple said...

She can be...I just wanted some guidance from people who have done this before as I have no idea how to go about it.

Bikram said...

Oh god.. that SON needs to be shot .. 

I am not sure what or how to help if it was UK i could give u some list of shelter homes .. 

I hope she is fine 

Shilpa Garg said...

Is there a Mother Teresa Home in your area??  It's a shelter for the needy, the destitute and people shunned by society. Run by Missionaries of Charity. 

Gayatri said...

Vinita, the first thing that came to my mind was Helpage India, Pune. But the contact info is very bare bones. Maybe they may have suggestions on how to sponsor an elderly person (like the way people sponsor children's food and education)
http://www.helpageindia.org/contact_pop/popup_pune.php 

Lakshmi Rajan said...

I appreciate you took time and thought to talk to her which we normally don't do. Check out for any local old age shelter homes in your area... and see if you can admit her there. 

Anu said...

life in not fair...............
an old age home is a good idea...
and if possible u can talk to her children...

bless u for having such a kind heart
anu 

Journomuse said...

There isn't enough done in terms of social security in our country. The old and the aged are lucky if they have kids who are inclined to take care of them, happily or otherwise. For others, life is hell and unfortunately, there is little they can do to ensure their body and sould stays together. I think we need to have at least community driven programmes that raise funds to help the homeless and the abandoned like Janabai. I do wonder how we could create social initiatives that bring people together - get corporates to contribute under Corporate Social Responsibility, NGOs to spearhead these programmes and concerned citizens to ensure day to day expenses or even psychological needs of inmates are met through volunteering and offering time to such initiatives. The problem in our society with any new endeavour like this is the cynicism that sets in and the thought that any philanthropic sentiment is also money-driven!!

Corinne Rodrigues said...

I'm guessing an old age home would be a good option - I know that the Missionaries of Charity (Mother Teresa) run something like that here in Mumbai. 

Zephyr said...

Shelters for destitute women is the best idea. Hope Ash has suggested some good alternative. It is wonderful that you are taking her plight with so much compassion and trying to solve it. But we do need better provisions for such destitute old people. 

Lazy Pineapple said...

She is fine and I am meeting her nearly everyday. I am trying to so something for her with the help of Ash from Helpage..

Lazy Pineapple said...

Shilpa I don't think we have anything like that here though there are a lot of old age homes in Pune. I am trying to do something for her...

Lazy Pineapple said...

Hi LR good to see you here. The thing is I tried convincing her to move to an old age home but she does not want to leave her own place at such an old age...

Lazy Pineapple said...

Thanks Anu for your kind words. I wish that if each one of us even helped one person in need...India will be a better place to live. I do want to talk to her son but 'Janabai' is protecting him even though she is treated badly. A mother's heart accepts her own children the way they are...

Lazy Pineapple said...

I agree about that. If kids are good they take care of their parents else the parents are abused and thrown out of the house. There are a few NGO's who do work for the elderly. Helpage is one of them and they are trying to help 'Janabai' and can do it only if she accepts it...

Lazy Pineapple said...

I am in Pune Corinne. I am getting some help from Helpage India

Lazy Pineapple said...

Yes, Ash has been a big help. Helpage India is doing a lot of work to help old people and there is a helpline for the elderly people at the commissioners office in Pune and they help old people fight abuse..

Deepak said...

You already have plenty of suggestions. Have not done this before so apart from repeating what others have, cant do much except wish you all the best in your noble endeavour.

Lazy Pineapple said...

Thanks Deepak :)

Deepa said...

How old would you make her to be? With old people, who have been abandoned, I believe building their self esteem is of importance. Is there any kind of work she could do? Maybe with cane or straws, with paper? Old age homes are always an option but for her, that would be the same as depending on someone else's pity. Even work done a few hours each day, maybe 2-3 hours a day, she would start earning and feel better about herself. She could sell some wares for someone, or clean cars or iron clothes. Do you think she's able enough to do that?

Lazy Pineapple said...

I agree with you that it is important to build the self esteem of such people. But Janabai is nearly 75 -80 and is just able to walk and will not be able to do much. She does not want to leave the place where she lives at this stage in her life and go and stay in an old age home. No one can force her to do it. We are trying to think of an alternative way to help her.

PriPat said...

Shelter homes is the best option.. such old ppl cant work too! And hats of to u miss for being so kinda and generous!

Lazy Pineapple said...

Thanks Pritpat. I agree about shelter homes but Janabai is not ready to move there. We are trying to find another solution.

Ash said...

I have tagged you in my latest post, Vinita. Do check it out here.... http://e-pinion.blogspot.in/2012/07/tag-youre-it.html

KayEm said...

Doesn't Pune get cold in winter, especially at night? Perhaps she'd agree to move if she were reminded of that. Keep us posted, Ash and LP so all of us, being better informed, know what to do in similar circumstances.

Lazy Pineapple said...

Thanks for dropping in and leaving a comment. Janabai has a house but no source of Income. Will keep you posted about how it works out.

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