The Ethical Dilemma...!
This old lady is always there. No matter at what time we move in or out between 8 AM and 9 PM of our nearest local station, she will be there, with a dirty plastic bowl in her hand. At 80 something, without the ability to commute on her own or to see or hear properly, we always find her begging at the exact same place. Like this is the only thing she learned in her whole life. People give her all sorts of things, money, food, clothes or even paper or polythene to sit on. We never failed to notice her and sometimes put a fruit in her bowl.
On the last day of Durga pooja, we were passing by her and it struck us that we should offer her something good, to eat. We went to a snack shop nearby and bought 2 samosas, some dhokla, packed chips and a bottle of water. I remember we were very excited and were expecting that she will be too. But when I sat down in front of her, I was shocked by my core.
She cannot see at all, hearing ability is almost zero, she got scared when I touched her, cause she didn't know who or what I was. I tried my best, by hand movements and several other gestures to make her understand what we were offering but couldn't succeed. I took a samosa out of the paper bag and tried to place it in her hands, yet she couldn't figure out what to do with it. At that moment I was feeling even more helpless than her.
We moved a few steps away to discuss, what should be done when a lady in her 40s came and started interacting with her. I ran back and saw her giving pieces of samosa in her hand and moving the hand to her mouth. Still, it was hard for the old lady to understand it. I was relieved for a moment but then I saw the other lady keeping the chips packet in her own bag. What the F@#$? I don't know why I didn't say anything to her, maybe because she was making the old lady eat, and that was enough for me then.
It's been more than a month and to date when I think about this incident, my mind juggles between many questions. Why that lady took the chips if she cared so much? If the old lady is not even capable of understanding what to do with edibles then what she does with the money she gets? Who is managing it on her behalf? Why they couldn't do more than just keeping her alive? She couldn't even stand up or slide by herself, who picks and drops her there every day? Was that lady part of some gang we hear in news, who makes people beg? Should we offer money in such a case? Wouldn't it promote this practice? But how can we ignore someone so much in need of help? Is this really what I'm thinking it is? If no, what should I do for her? If yes, what should I do for her?