The Modern Minstrel

I am sitting at home, watching TV following the Hope for Haiti telethon. I just watched Coldplay sing a song. I had already watched the telethon from Canada - we do have a Haitian-Canadian Governor General as well as one of the largest populations of Haitians outside Haiti. But as I watched Coldplay sing - I thought 'Please give me some money - I will entertain you with the talent I have'. 


I noble endevor indeed. But all of a sudden, I remembered this beggar who use to come begging in our area every Sunday around 10 in the morning. He was suffering from leprosy. He had two tiny cymbals, which he would ring while singing his little song. He would do a little bobbing dance with it. For some reason, I remember the raggedy clothes he wore, the ribbons of fabric blowing in the wind as he sang the same song every Sunday. A simple song. That spoke of a simple need. 


'Gobinda is hungry
If Gobinda is fed
Gobinda is happy'


And he would smile his toothless smile as he sang this little jingle. 


For some reason, he started off by scaring my little cousin, Mithu, to tears - well, she was just a little toddler at that point. But then later on, once she got used to him, she would insist we give him something - rice, roti, something - so he could eat. If we delayed getting him something, and he started heading to the next house, she would start crying... 'hurry, hurry.. he is leaving.. '. 


For some reason - for the first time - we've seen so many telethons - 9/11, Band Aid, Farm Aid, all of them... and yet for the first time I remembered a beggar from home. 


I wonder where he is now? If he is at all alive now? 


Sometimes I wonder if we miss our chance to do good when we should have.. Maybe that's why - weeks, months, years later life turns around and you wonder what you had done wrong.... maybe it was the day you turned your back on some one who needed a helping hand.


And today these modern troubadours are singing with a begging bowl in their hands - just not begging for themselves. They are looking for donations from those that choose not to turn away to help a neighbor - someone that is in desperate straits now...Somehow - that restores my trust and faith in humanity...!!

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