I'll keep this one brief - I'm so busy building decks for training this week! The team members here are very well prepared for our time in India, so we blew through my first two days of training in just one day!
I had my first "unpleasant" experience at a stoplight today. When I say unpleasant, please do not hear me saying annoying, irritating, frustrating, etc. I say unpleasant - for lack of a better word - because my conscience and heart hurt a little after pulling away.
I was picked up by our private driver for the trip back to the hotel from the office. It is a brief trip, maybe 15-20 minutes, though I am probably underestimating it. My eyes fly wide open as I try to take in everything going on around me during every car or rickshaw ride. For an observer like me, I have been overstimulated constantly the last few days!
Anyhow, the driver picked me up in the late afternoon so we hit a bit of traffic on our way to the hotel. When sitting quite awhile at a stoplight with cars all around us, a young boy caught my eyes and as soon as he caught mine, he appeared at my car door.
Let me say that I was prepared for this scenario. I knew to expect young kids asking for money and being rather persistent about it. This was my first bout with it, though, and it is still fresh on my mind.
Even back home, I have a hard time with not desiring to empty my wallet for people just like this boy. Do I empty my wallet every time? No. Do I give cash away when I have it at times? Yes, absolutely. Did I do that today? No.
Without becoming too philosophical about the entire subject, I will simply say that I am torn in both ways. There are many people in need, not just in India but everywhere really. What do you do in these situations? There are many scams that I could be too naive to see because my judgment is clouded by my emotions. Should that really matter though? What is the difference between the smiling Indian boy and the scraggly old man in Dallas?
I want to have open hands/be generous AND I want to be responsible. Should a line be drawn here? I'm not sure.
So, anyway, those are some thoughts rolling through my mind here at almost midnight. Those thoughts and that big, toothy grin accompanied by the persistent window-knocking and "ma'am, ma'am, ma'am, ma'am".