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To Give or Not to Give

A dilemma of compassion, need, and greed….with no easy answers. What would you do?

An Armchair Perfectionist


A stony heart is essential if you are living and travelling in India. The hoopla of economic growth and prosperity feels like sheer blasphemy as you take in the sights of streets.

Daily I see destitution drowning to abysmal levels and am beseeched by crippled old men, wailing mothers and children with running noses asking for alms. Sitting along the footpath, at traffic signals, busy bus stops and railway stations – they are everywhere!

From start, we have been instructed to never give money to them. It seems heartless if you have not been exposed to this side of life in India. No harm in giving 10-20 rupees against the thousands that we spend on a single night out, right? Sadly, begging is now a business growing by leaps and bounds. The beggars belong to a ‘chief’ where they handover the day’s ‘earnings’ where a major chunk is retained by…

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I am myself. I own my life, and live with three other people who own theirs. My intention is to do only those things that bring me joy, and to give myself wholly to those things I do. Writing has been my passion throughout my life, and this will become the home for my writing life...because it brings me great joy!

3 thoughts on “To Give or Not to Give

  1. From what I’ve learned from my sister who’s lived there, so MANY parts of our western mindset are turned upside down in India. I don’t think one can understand without going through the challenge in person. This is a very sensitive account.

    1. I think you’re right, Gretchen. It’s easy to toss out platitudes, but, the enormity of this situation – no easy answers.

      It is a sensitive and realistic account, without platitudes, which is why I wanted to share it.

      I can’t say I understand, but I’m more aware now than I was before I read this.

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