It was a gloomy Monday morning and I hoped wearing pink would help drive away the blues. I hurried to the stop to catch the crowded bus to work and heaved a sigh as I was in time. I looked around when the sight of a shabby beggar waving his stick in the air caught my eye.
The sight was unappealing but it was enough to break my train of thoughts. The beggar was engrossed in himself and seemed to be propelling something invisible to the rest of us. He rested his emaciated frame on the pavement of the busy intersection. I noticed the expression on the faces of the other commuters. They ranged from pity to disgust. The beggar was oblivious to our presence. He looked up blankly, muttering something to himself.
Minutes later, an athletic, middle-aged man approached the beggar. It seemed he was returning from his morning walk. He decided to indulge in a tête-à-tête with the poor soul. First, he sat down next to the beggar on the pavement. Then he offered him a handshake which the latter turned down effortlessly.
Uncomfortable with the intrusion in his space, the beggar shifted a little distance away. But the morning walker persisted and soon broke the ice with a warm smile. I watched them strike a conversation and the two laughed aloud as though they were long lost friends.
Suddenly, the beggar grew restless and made a rigorous effort to locate something in his torn clothes.
He pulled out a cigarette. To my surprise, I saw his visitor lighting the cigarette for him. Within seconds, the beggar was back in his trance. The visitor started searching his pockets for some money but was unable to find any. Finally, after much effort, he took out dry fruits and daringly offered them to the beggar. The beggar declined the offer.
I found myself staring at the beggar wondering how he was so content in poverty. Even when he had been offered something that he could not enjoy in view of his meagre existence, all he did was to promptly decline it without an ounce of regret.
In contrast, we, the runners of life's rat race, desperately yearn to immerse ourselves in worldly pleasures. Often, we tend to turn a deaf ear to the existence of that voice inside us. The voice that keeps us out of trouble, and content, whether one is a prince or a pauper.