I just remembered that I was really amused by this incident. I was in Kolkata visiting my aunt earlier this year. So on a particular afternoon, we decided to go shopping and took the local train from Liluah to Howrah. Now locals in Kolkata are nothing like the ones in Mumbai. Sure they look the same but the Mumbai ones are jammed. But its one of the best ways to travel nonetheless.
Beggars and urchins are a common thing. I used to feel bad for them once upon a time but I guess I have just grown cynical over the years. Now begging or rather the art of begging is a business and a very lucrative one at that! Our local arrives and we manage to get in safely. At the next station, a trio - 2 blind men and women enter the ladies compartment. One man had a mic, the other a harmonium and both were blind. Now the woman was just accompanying them so that she could collect the money on their behalf. They placed themselves very strategically and started belting out this Bengali song [don't ask for more details...]. Of course everything was off key. The singer was no real singer and the Harmonium player knew a few notes. The woman was expressionless and continued to go around collecting money.
What is weird is, we still give them money! Bah, we know all this is a sham but nevertheless. This goes on for a bit and Howrah station is closing in. Howrah is a huge junction and so our train halted long way before the platform due to some signal. The singing stopped and they got into a discussion.
The singer was miffed. He was like, I am a star and I have to go singing like this daily...its not working. The other one just smirked. A bunch of loose change cannot earn you a fortune right? Ha! So he continued ranting as to how he planned to sing Rabindra Sangeet and not some popular Bangla Gaan from the films. The woman still had no expressions.
Finally, sensing that his colleagues were not paying heed, he started to mutter to himself. "I need a new strategy and fast! I need to earn more money out of this singing..." I could not get more out of it as they had stepped out.
Some star indeed.
Recently I have been hooked to this reality show called DID Lil Masters. Its a dance show and the kids are brilliant, one being better than the other! I usually watch the repeats and I have come to like this contestant called Manoj.
Manoj has an interesting story. He is a urchin who lives in some home for destitute children in the city. Terence Lewis, one of the judges on the main show, had seen him dance. Lewis had asked the boy to audition and backed him. Because Manoj is truly talented, he was selected and has been performing brilliant dancing all these weeks.
Kids like him are truly deserving. He is a star. :)