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A nagging problem that everyone in a fancy car faces on the city roads these days

One of the most happening cities on its way to the world canvas, Hyderabad is buzzing with activity at all times. So much that even when we pause at intersections during the rush hour, we are still given work. I mean by beggars at every block who flock around cars and bikes persistently, begging for alms. It’s not just mebut every Hyderabadi tastes this nagging every day.
I read recently that the City Mayor is all set to get beggars off the street. We have seen how they were off streets when US President came to visit us a few years ago. We wanted to flaunt a developed city and get a pat on the back. One of our previous Mayors tried to solve the issue earlier, but in vain.
Frankly there is no humane angle that justifies them on streets merely because most of them are beggars by choice. Notice how healthy and able they seem? Have we not noticed shabbily clad, almost in a ‘costume’ woman with her hands bandaged and fresh Dettol on it and head tilted and nodding with a face full of despair pleading away?
I know that is a lot of detail to recall  but the best part is that even six months later, her wound will be fresh and she will look the same. Surprisingly, we find this batch of beggars with the same costume in almost all high-end pockets of the city. It is as though they wake up, put on make-up and leave. No wonder that my neighbour’s three-year-old daughter wanted to dress as a ‘beggar’ for her fancy dress in school. Unlike other cities we actually have our own signature beggar costume that haunts us the moment we pause at the traffic light.
Now just in case anyone wants to plead on their behalf about poverty and unemployment, let us understand that this is an organised racket that operates professionally. Most are street-smart, savvy and know their target audience. Most beggars choose cars with kids for the additional emotional drama. Fancier the car, more the number who flock at it. How do we deal with it? Well, roll your windows up and pretend not to look. Please contact the Mayor for further assistance. It seems he has an idea sir ji. Before you judge me, I have a heart too, but it doesn’t go out to these people.

Swapna Sundari

—  The writer is a popular TV show host, radio jockey, professional singer… and most importantly, a hardcore Hyderabadi)

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