Like every other day, I was waiting for my train at Dadar station today morning when a beggar approached me and asked for 5 rupees. In a matter-of-fact tone I waved my head, said ‘no’ and moved away from him while he completed his sentence ‘5 rupaye ka nimbu pani pila do’ (Buy me a lime-water costing 5 rupees). I didn’t give it a second thought and got on the first class compartment of the train which had just come to a halt on the platform.
I looked back at the beggar. He looked young, with a little shabby clothing and a cap. He was now approaching other people with his request. At that moment I actually gave heed to what he had said and realised that he hadn’t asked for money; he had asked for water.
It had been a genuine request.
‘Never say no to anyone for water’, I remembered my mother telling me a long time ago when I was in Primary school, had gone for a class picnic and hadn’t shared my bottle of water with a friend.
Before my slow-processing-morning-mind could change its course of actions, the train started moving and gave me a good excuse not to look back at the beggar. Right at that moment I knew the thought of this guy wouldn’t go out of my head easily.