The cleverest trick

“Don’t give me this" said the beggar. "All I want are pretty clothes for Eid. Please buy me some."

Saadia Qamar September 02, 2011

How often it is that we end up taking things for granted; from having a blessed existence to having a lovely home; being loved by our loved ones and the overwhelming feeling of belonging while reconnecting with family and friends on Eid. But rarely do we pause to think of the unfortunate souls who are devoid of our blessings – those who live on the streets of this megalopolis.

A few days before Eid, I was walking down Gulfway Shopping Mall in Clifton, when I saw a boy, no more than 10 years of age, begging from a woman. Brushing him aside, the woman moved on to wrap up her shopping chores. I called the beggar towards me and handed him a Rs100 note. Handing the money back to me, he said: “Don’t give me this. You can keep it. All I want is nice, pretty clothes for Eid. Please buy me some.”

As I stood there, a little hesitant and a bit reluctant, thinking of whether I should buy him whatever he wants, the boy took a hold of me and literally dragged me towards the shop of his liking. Midway through the purchase of his wishes, still a little stunned and astonished at the boy’s nerve to force me into a purchase, the feeling slowly but rather momentously was replaced with the joy of seeing an unforgettable smile on the boy’s face.

The shopkeeper went on to caution me about the boy’s trick, saying he would go on to re-sell the clothes and use the same ‘drama’ on someone else. I smiled and told the shopkeeper that, to my knowledge, all that the boy wanted was new and clean clothes for Eid prayers. How could I have refused?

As I walked away from the shop, I thought: what was the real spirit of Eid? Was it to bond with loved ones or did it go beyond that – to befriend people who aren’t as blessed as us and bring some happiness into their lives?

In words of Rumi, maybe on such a blessed day “If you could give up tricks and cleverness, that would be the cleverest trick!”

Saadia Qamar
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