Beggars Love For Doctor

5 mins read


By Ishtiyaq Sibtan Joo

Fakirpora village was unique in its nature. Though the village had taken name from “mystics in Islam”, yet for many decades it was churning out an army of beggars. It was this legacy that past generations had and were passing on to the next.

Shafiqa had inherited the bequest from her maternal aunt, as her parents had died too early for her to remember anything about them.

It was a strange death which was carried out by almost all the newspapers of the valley that never see the broad daylight as their owners publish limited copies to get government advertisements only.

The news report in one such newspaper read an interesting headline. “Unscheduled power supply led to unscheduled deaths.”

“Two beggars were electrocuted after a high speeding car had hit an electric pole and the loosely tied high tension wire gave in against the collision, and fell on to the street. Unaware with the non-existent power supply in the valley the beggars thought to put the wire on the side. However, such was there luck that power was switched on at that time, and both of them got electrocuted,” read the news report from “Baikaar Times”.

Some newspapers had also written that authorities did announce some kind of package to the family of the deceased once never to be formed government will come to power. But that relief never came.

Instead valley’s power corporation sent Shafiqa and her aunt a huge power bill for the energy her parents had consumed during electrocution.

Of course no one paid the bill, and the department continues wasting natural resources by sending the same bill with recalculated interest every year.

Noticing Shafiqa’s flair for the most sought after profession of the village, her aunt took early retirement and started managing home affairs. Shafiqa excelled so much in it that soon she was reckoned as one of the best in the field that village had ever produced.

She had a favorite point outside one of the leading hospitals of the valley where she used to sit. The place was like her undeclared throne. Over the decades of experience under her black veil (read Burqa) that Shafiqa wore, the seasoned entrepreneur had developed some catchy lines to lure the visitors to pay her good alms.

As helping the poor is one of key values of Islam, therefore, the surge in spreading its values saw drastic increase in the income of beggars across the valley.

While Fakirpora beggars moved from scooters to low end cars, Shafiqa replaced her maruti 800 with luxurious sedan.

Being a thorough professional everyone in the village knew that their vehicles have to be a certain distance from their professional seats. Therefore, Shafiqa also used to park her sedan almost half a km away from the hospital, and from there on she used to wear her veil to avoid the recognition.

Off late Shafiqa was noticing swell in competition. Ironically, it was not a domestic, but foreign one. First time in her life she was facing difficulties to match to it.

Not only were these foreigners creative in language, but their actions were too appealing, even for the likes of Shafiqa who sometimes felt giving some money to them when they knocked her car’s window pan at a signal.

From past few months Shafiqa was noticing a gradual decline in her income. Her much tried lines of prosperity and wealth were not getting much for her.

Instead an unknown female face with dark complexion and messy hair, sitting opposite to her, was minting most of the alms. The female with her two dirty little children who used to sit and cry in front of their equally dirty mother were even stealing Shafiqa’s loyal customers.

Shafiqa wowed for celibacy after she fell in love with one of the doctors from the hospital during her young days. Since she knew it was a one-sided affair that would never reach to its logical end, therefore, she decided to nourish her love in her heart and stay single for rest of her life.

The love doctor also used to drop some money every time he used to pass her by. For Shafiqa that used to be the best moment of her day as it allowed her to see her love that close.

However, the arrival of the dark skinned strange woman with her filthy children had not only stolen many of her loyal customers, but even her love interest was now skipping her to drop his money at filthy lady and her children’s counter.

This hurt Shafiqa badly. But instead of giving up, she decided to take her opponent down.

She struck a deal with her neighbor in her village whose child she hired for few days. The step was not only to regain her lost love, but it was also a strategic move to hold on to her territory.

And it paid off. The boy’s local appearance fetched him good money, and his clean appearance also won him many sympathizers. This not only got Shafiqa her old clients back, but it also saw her again getting visited by her love interest.

He patted cheek of her child with love and gave him the money. Though the doctor had touched the child cheeks, but it was Shafiqa who was feeling its warmth on her skin. Besides, she also noticed the venom with which her competitor was staring at her.

With drastic increase in Shafiqa’s client traffic, few days later the filthy women along with her children vanished from the scene. Taking a sigh of relief Shafiqa thought she was done with her competitor, however, the war was far from over.

A few days later the lady with dirty clothes and messy hair returned with a man who had an amputated arm, and started asking for alms.

Seeing the scene, Shafiqa pitied that filthy lady’s luck and thought for how much misery God had put onto the messy lady.

Again the clients paying alms changed their direction towards the filthy woman and her amputated husband. However, this time Shafiqa was at peace thinking the woman on the other side deserves the money more than she does.

However, a month later she read in a newspaper of how beggars’ mafia is being run in the valley. The mafia people were hiring beggars from outside places to work here read the news report.

She was startled to read that the amputations were done on purpose to fetch more money from the innocent valley people.

Without any ado Shafiqa hired a foreign beggar with double amputation for double money he was getting from his contractor, and posted him at his place.

The move again worked. Shafiqa’s wallet was again getting fatter. However, more than the money Shafiqa was elated that she had again routed out her opponent.

But again the messy hair lady was not willing to go down without a fight. Few days later she returned with double leg amputated man who was crawling along the road by pushing his body with his hand covered by two rubber soles. His face was continuously touching the road which was making the scene all tragic.

Shafiqa felt grouse with the move. She thought the woman on the other side had crossed all the lines of decency and had stooped too low to compete with. So she decided give up on her.

Although the new move by the filthy women did won her early easy bucks, but with continuous media reports highlighting about the beggary mafia being run in the valley was affecting the perception of people towards the foreign beggars.

Soon people of valley started avoiding paying any money to the non-locals, especially the amputated, and the ones that presented themselves in the worst human condition.

Meanwhile, Shafiqa continued her old style for returning best wishes to those who were paying her alms. Gradually she became more and more content with whatever, she was earning. For her seeing her doctor regularly was enough to give peace to her heart.

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The story first appeared in the print edition of April 6.

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