The beggars and hawkers rest in the evening sun,
Their jobs done for the day,
The flyover and traffic lights their domain,
The stopped cars and rickshaws the target,
As they tap on the window,
Mournful expression, the honed and practice sad eyes,
Occasionally a baby in arms,
Always the same call and action,
Fingers shovelling to the mouth,
Khaana, khanna, khaana,
Eat, eat ,eat.
Some are genuine, some are controlled by crime gangs,
Most a have protected pitch,
Which means they have to pay someone,
Most are persistent and good humoured,
When I travelled to and from Project Why,
We would stop at the same junction morning and evening,
I would play cat and mouse with three young beggars,
I would try to photograph them,
They were very adept at dodging the camera,
The unspoken understanding and smile told,
You give us nothing we give back nothing,
It was a game, they recognised the rickshaw,
Rarely bothered us,
When I was leaving to return to England,
I bought them Indian sweets call Gulab Jamun,
My favourite very sweet and sticky,
I ran through the mad Delhi traffic to reach them in the middle,
They were perched on a little concrete island inches from cars and buses,
I held out the box of sweets, no camera in hand,
The three youngsters looked puzzled,
Didn’t understand why this white Britisher,
Who never gave them money,
Was approaching them to give,
Rather than them putting on their sad show to beg,
Nonetheless they took the sweets ans scattered into the traffic,
I never saw them again.
These are the children Project Why exists for,
A reason it started, a differently-abled beggar,
Being taken advantage of and a physically abused,
He was taken under the wing of Project Why,
Given dignity and a reason to be happy.
This month of April, I have been taking part in The A to Z Challenge,
Every day except Sundays, writing a blog going through,
All the letters of the alphabet,
I chose to write each day about my time in India,
With a wonderful charity called Project Why,
They give education, welfare and work skills to children and women,
From the slums of south Delhi.
They all do an amazing job.
They have so much love, give so much love, receive so much love.
But love is not enough in these modern times,
They need regular donators.
To carry on their brilliant work.