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The poor rich girl

india Updated: Jan 18, 2010 00:33 IST
Vanita Srivastava

Every morning while driving through heavy traffic near a temple, I notice a group of small children sitting across the pavement with their utensils for collecting alms. All of them, with malnourished looks and tattered clothes, start running the moment vehicles stop and plead for money desperately.

Among them, I always find a charming girl, around six years, relatively better clothed. She never approaches anyone for begging. I see through her eyes that she is not doing her ‘job’ well. But this hardly bothers her.

On one such occasion, when my car was waiting at the traffic signal, I saw her in a different mood. She looked more playful and was mixing with the other children. Then, I saw her handing over some coins to another girl. This deepened my curiosity about her. I went up to her.

“What’s your name?” I asked. She just gave me a coy smile. “ Who lives with you?”

“No one, I live here in the temple with God.”

“Why were you giving away money to that girl?” I asked. The smile was back on her face. “Her mother is hospitalised and she needs the money more than I do.”

I stood there, amazed, feeling like a pauper before her. Here I was reasonably well off. But how often had I thought of helping the needy?

And look at this little girl, who earns not more than Rs15 a day, gives away her little earnings to the needy. She has no roof over her head, and has had no schooling. But rich enough to part with her daily income to help someone in need.

I gave her Rs 10. She took Rs 5 and returned the rest. ‘I don’t need more,” was all she said. I felt a special kind of richness about her. A type not found even around millionaires!