Monday, 17 June 2013

The White Stick

White- clad, brown-headed, but looking sleek
the stick’ been the bête noire of health geeks.
But not to me, buddies, never for once in the past.
 My alter ego the stick was and my macho’s logo
vicissitudes of life together we faced with cheers,
and puffing on her ever, braved I’d life’s fears.
But soon came a day-- a day of reckoning
when off she went from me with a smirk and in a huff
as I’d vowed to my gods not to puff. Neither she’d
 now caresses my craving lips nor fills my lungs
with smoke and keep my blood warm and me charm.
Thrown I’d my dear ciggy and got her bond broken, not
for health sake but after seeing a shriveled
 lame beggar in a fast moving unit train and hearing his
piteous cries for a single rupee coin.

A scrawny lame beggar hardly he could walk
and his face, a crushed lemon rind, everyone’d sulk.
A strap of loincloth on his hip was only his outfit.
 With unkempt hair and blowing grey beard
hands he’d extend to all for alms: food or coins.
Drumming on his hollowed stomach, he’d sing old
songs from past flicks with a caressing voice.
Peeving at his presence, people in the train
threw at him coins, not out of sympathy
but to shift him elsewhere as they began
to die of the foul smell his outfit was emitting.

Piercing my soul was the beggar’s heart-rending plight
and goading me it was not to pursue the smoking delight.
‘No more ciggy. Flirt with her not and give the mendicant
all the money you would save not smoking’. A voice
I heard calling me from under my heart and
 obeyed it at once as a tusker to his mahout.
Folding his hands over his empty tummy and
Curling himself up in the floor of a train station
I saw the beggar at last after a long search. When
A fifty-rupee note he got from me thrust on his hands
he cried in ecstasy not believing his eyes.
Kneeling down at my feet and wetting them with tears
he mumbled thanks and ran over to a food-stall.

In jitters went my blood craving for nicotine, but
firm I was clinging to my vow for the beggar’s sake.
Going well on my bucks that I gave him daily, he,
with gaiety, limped thro trains and cringed for alms.
New robes he wore on now, showing no more hunger pangs.
None in the train now shooed him away, as
he was so clean and tidy, singing new movie songs.
Elated I was reveling in what I’d done to a poor soul,
Which, besides saving me from the stick, gave a new
purpose to my life and a new meaning to my existence. But,
short-lived was my elation, as I didn’t see the beggar for days.
‘Who knows, he may be dead and gone now’ said a train colleague
making me search for him every train station.

Good heavens! I saw to my relief alive was the mendicant. But
lying inebriated in a secluded dark pavement, he was
with a shabby beggar woman. Puffing on a long ciggy and
letting out bellows of smoke around him, he was in a stupor.
Around him littered were cigts butts and empty bottles of beer.
Kissing and caressing the woman he babbled in booze:
‘I’ve a moron for my benefactor. Why should I go then and beg?’
The woman laughed when she heard him mimic my voice.
Petrified, I felt my head reeling and heart breaking bits and pieces.
‘Is showing compassion to a poor a crime?
Had I thrown pearls before a mud-smearing pig?
Did I mistake a serpentine a coil of rope?
While I stood speechless and got slapped by questions,
the beggar took the woman to a loo.



  1. thanks for your response.value every single word of your comments. have nice time.

  2. Misplaced charity it seems.

    Your poem made interesting reading.

  3. Many of us repent after giving alms to the person who deserves not. ,but he deserves thanks for making a smoker to bid goodbye to cigarettes.

  4. fabulous !! No matter how big a serpent the beggar was .. I feel, he gave a reason for self-improvement.. by leaving the smoke stick for a cause which matters.
    For many true seek that help for betterment what few have made it a business of selling emotions :)
    Nicely depicted Sir !!

  5. Fascinating!

    Beautifully penned.

  6. good poem with meaning and written in a best way. WOW

  7. amazing write up Sir. every line of this piece beautifully pictures the whole story in front of my eyes.

    I Would like to share with you that I also faced a similar situation some two-three years back, when I met an old beggar on the streets of bengaluru. That experience was very touching and i wrote a blog on that. Although I helped out the beggar, not sure what his real purpose were, but that act of kindness at that time filled me with a great deal of satisfaction.
    Do read my experience whenever you find time.

  8. Heart touching Sir... Salute in respect ...

  9. Wonderful composition Arumugamji.....

    You may also find Kenfolios interesting......

  10. First of all I am sorry to be posting what may be a random garbage to you like an intruder. But please go through this and help us.

    This is a rather tragic story of some helpless employees working in C-DAC, Trivandrum a government of India organisation under DeiTY. Please help us by spreading or posting some advice. Please do not see this as abogus post or the one intended for 'hits'. Please spread.

    As we have said in the post, its impossible for us to go against the management openly as it will cost our jobs. We are not permanent employees. We are just on contract. They can just let us go today if they want. And most of us being only 'employed ones' from our family, we cannot afford to lose our jobs. So as we said an open protest is difficult even if legally. But as you said its ridiculous that a central govt org is doing this. Yes, they are and have been doing this sort of things as ths org is not that much in public domain. Most of the public dont even know such an org exists. So thats why we are seeking public help to spread awareness of things happening. Once its in the public they will feel threatened. And as we cannot possibly bring this out in the public [as it will cost our jobs] we ask for social media help. Thanks again.

    Twitter -

  11. touching poem.. brilliant sir.

  12. many beggars in India are beggars by choice as they find it easy to earn money like this without any hard work,even I now a beggar who came in car changes his clothes and then go for begging in the name of God.

  13. Beautifully described...the first half was awe inspiring and the second half a reflection of what charity usually leads to these days. With beggar chains and babies on rent for begging, surely charity is not something we can depend on for doing good to the society these days. The present times call for a more strategic approach towards charity.

  14. In the first place it is important to say that what you have done can only be done by one who is compassionate. The story told in the beautifully composed poem enlightens me and strengthens my faith in the optimist that you are. A great post from a great mind.

  15. beautifully written sir...

  16. Again and again you enlighten us with your optimism. Thanks for sharing this with us Sir :)

  17. anticlimax towards the end totally stumped me!

    i never give money to any beggar....i carry small biscuit packets with me and if anyone comes begging, i ask them if they would like to eat the biscuit, and only then give it to them...

  18. Begging is a profession now!
    Kind souls fall for them unfortunately. Next time I am going to think twice.

  19. Very interesting turn of events!
    Well you know, we do our best and then it's for the beggar now to have the same enlightenment that you did. For now, let him enjoy his nicotine rush as you did yours. Wisdom will come to him with time.
    Good poem!

  20. Its very true! There are a lot more fake beggars these days and due to which the truly needy and poor also get ignored. Very interesting climax.

  21. I loved this post so much that I'm sharing it on my FB wall. And oh my god, what a great end! Loved your blog :)