Beggars & Tourists: Mar. 27th
In much of Asia begging is considered a path to humility. It has at its roots the practice of Hindu spirituality and both Hindu and Buddhist sects have spread the practice throughout Asia. For these priests and monks, begging is an act of worship, and giving is something akin to respect for that worship. This respect is abused in India whose beggars have, as our English friends say, "the biggest cheek" of all.
At the risk of offending beggars, then, I have to tell a beggar story. We spent the day with Janet, our very white, and enthusiastically American, Human Resources lady from the US. This is her first day in India. We took her to the marketing office, where Adhi was accosted by an extremely scary looking beggar who jabbered "Buged-dee, ed-ed-dee, bugged-dee, etc." in some sort of demented voice or language that I had never heard before. Adhi asked Jude to scare the man away. Jude said something, and then pushed him off. The man walked away, all the while repeating "Fuck-a you" at the top of his lungs. I was shocked, then surprised, and then amused. This was the first time I had heard that particular expression from an Indian beggar. I assume he saw Janet, and Sue, the two white women, in the car and figured this was an appropriate language. So Janet all bright-eyed and innocent asked why he would say that. Sue’s simple reply: "Perhaps he was being considerate".
Mar. 29th
As we were driving Janet to the airport, she asked if it was appropriate to tip Jude. She had just received an Apple baseball cap from Ravi, and knowing how Jude loved baseball caps, I suggested this might be an appropriate gift. Janet’s last image of India from inside the terminal, was seeing Jude outside, standing next to the Maruti Esteem wearing his Apple cap and an ear-to-ear grin, and yelling "Thank you Madam".