Madhur Bhandarkar made a movie by the name of ‘traffic signal’ to show the chaos around this place which is in existence to create order on city’s roads.
All of us have witnessed the changes that have occurred on the traffic signals. There have been changes not just in terms of numbers and types of vehicles but also in the kind of people for whom it is their workplace. Earlier, we used to see beggars either old/handicapped/ women with young children. Now in addition to these we have kids doing all kinds of jigs, or selling magazines/ novels and other paraphernalia sellers. Then there are some who come and insist on cleaning glasses of your vehicles.
Recently these people have been joined by eunuchs. They feel that God has not been kind to them so it is the collective responsibility of the society to undo this wrong done to them by giving generous money to them. If you are not kind to them then God save you from their curses. They do not beg they ‘demand’ money from you. And no, one or two rupees will not do, they order you to give them from five rupees (if you are lucky!) to ten to twenty rupees.
If it is a signal near a hospital then you would find people asking for sympathy (money again!!) for a close relative who is ill. Yours truly met a 60 plus woman who was crying for her son who had met with an accident and now she had no money for his treatment. It was a rare moment of smartness when I stumped her when I said that I had met her at the same place a day before as well when she had said the same thing. She just made a face and left without saying a word. It amused auto driver but he gave me no concession!!
There are also women and kids who sell their stuff with pleadings like they have not eaten so if you buy their product they can buy a meal for themselves. Thinking that, well, they are not begging at least, I have bought numerous agarbattis, pencils, tissue paper boxes and God knows what not. Usually things that I do not need or would never require. Always, return home sheepishly usually with the same story and different stuff to an amused husband!!