A busy day in Bangalore. At the St Johns Hospital traffic signal, it’s life as usual. Scores of patients and attenders rushing for their appointment with their doctors, crossing path with hundreds of students trying to get to classes and workers waiting for their buses to ferry them to anekal, hosur and electronic city.
At the signal there are three bus stops. The bus rarely stops at the bus stop, so most people are assembled sort of in the middle of the road. The bus stop has become a nice bill board on the side, with hardly anyone in it.
And that is where I found the leg. I didn’t notice the leg lying on the bus stop. At first, it was surreal to see a piece of human body lying there. It looked so real. Only it was a artificial leg.
A thin old man appears from behind the bus stop, leans against the railing, spreads a piece of cloth next to the artificial leg and sits down. On the footpath. He is missing a leg.
It’s rush hour and he is scanning the folks rushing towards the hospital. He puts up his arm begging for a few rupees. Occasionally adjusting the leg which is lying by his side. To make sure people notice it.
People walk by. A few stop, look into their pockets and purses. Take out change and hand it to the old man. He tries to get the attention of the car and bike owners who are now stuck in the traffic and waiting next to him, for the green light. The light changes, cars and bikes move ahead, making room for more cars and bikes.
A private bus stops at the signal and about 20 women get down, some carrying babies. Some supporting elderly. And start walking towards the hospital. One lady carrying a baby notices this old man, signals her other child to pull out some change from his pocket. The kid who is about ten years old pulls out a two rupee coin. The kid drops the coin into the old man’s hand.
And one after one, a rupee, two rupees, fifty paise start piling up. Each one of these women had some thing to give. Almost all of them were barefoot, had just got down from this hot and crowded private bus, from god knows how far. And they didn’t look like they had much themselves.
A young girl who was towards the end of this crowd, called out to her mom “Why are you giving this two rupees to this Ajja? You know we need this money” The mother replied to her “Maga, aa ajjange 2 rupiah kottare, namma badatana en hechu agalla”.
Our poverty will not become worse by giving this old man a couple of rupees.


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