Posted by: Prem Piyush | November 17, 2007

Sipping a glass of juice

Today early afternoon, after lunch I walked to the juice shop. She, the beggar, was standing near to me asking for money.

Her age may be around 70 or more. Dirty linen and weird grey hairs, black skinny hands and dirty nails and a big round grey bag hanging behind her.

I tried to pay no attention to her as they do keep roaming in the busy market. She again asked for bheekh, and the shopkeeper in Kannada said something to her. The only word I could I understood was juice. I thought the shopkeeper is telling her to stay away from the juice shop. But she did not moved away but she was not looking towards me for coins.

Few coins do not matter for me as much that may matter for her. But still not to encourage the number of more beggars, I did not gave her.

I had ordered for a glass of mausambi juice.To pass off the time, I was looking at the juice making process inside the shop trying to avoid ( in fact I can’t ever ) her . I was the only customer at the shop at that time. Normally for one glass of juice, two mausambi are used. I saw him the juice-maker putting four mausambi’s in the juicer.

Juice was prepared within a minute – not one glass but two glasses ! One glass for me and other for the beggar lady. I picked up the glass and looked towards her. The beggar lady was counting coins in her dirty thin palms. Keeping many coins in her left hand, she was counting the coins in her right hand. I thought, she is ounting the coins to pay for her glass of juice. Coins of Rs. 1, Rs. 2 and Rs. 5 and occassional 50 Paise.

She still didn’t picked her glass by the time I had finished mine. She was re-counting the coins, as if she had done some mistake.

Seeing her counting ‘so many’ coins for a glass of juice, I could not keep myself with ‘no-no principle’ to beggars. Taking out my purse, I said to the shopkeeper that I will pay for her juice too, please don’t take her handful of coins.

The shopkeeper said “no” and in broken Hindi he continued ” She gives coins us as ‘change’ and we exchange her with the currency notes.” I understood the barter system as well understood the need of coins by the shopkeeper. As a thanking gesture, shopkeeper gave her glass of juice too.

I had a mixed feeling for not given her coins, as well for the thanks giving gesture of shopkeeper with a glass of juice. After paying I came out of the shop seeing her.

From a distance I saw, she was holding the big glass of juice with her two hands, and sipping the juice (the nectar) slowly.


  1. Hi Prem sir, i always avoid to give money to beggars but i am just thinking and questioning to myself that what force this lady who is roaming on the road at this age of her life instead of taking rest her own home! But I am happy for her at least she had a full glass of juice. Anyway, yeh bhi zindagi ka dusra name hai…!


  2. Its a good thing you paid for the juice. Actually its heart breaking to see these things.
    I personally feel that its the failures of the Govt. and the society as a whole.
    We may have lots of currency exchange, Mukesh Ambani may become the richest man in the world, but if we cant sort these things out we will not capture the imagination of the world.

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