Begging Your Pardon
"The other day, when I placed a tenner in the outstretched palm of a beggar who stood below a footbridge, he sighed.
"It's the inflation," he said.
"Yes," I agreed, nodding sympathetically.
"A tenner is no longer what it used to be," he continued in the same vein. "Time was when a tenner was a fortune. Now it's an embarrassment."
This had me thinking. I almost gave him another tenner but wondered if that would be an added embarrassment.
"Life is so difficult these days," he said. "The wife cannot do without her kitty parties and the kids insist on 3-D television sets."
I shuffled my feet as I thought of my small TV set in my small living room.
"The missus wears only designer saris with her diamond chokers," wept the mendicant. "And my teen sons like expensive jeans and exclusive footwear."
"Sorry for being outspoken, sir," I said. "But how come this choice of profession?"
He gave me a withering look.
"I was once a happy middle class citizen myself," he said. "But when the wife and kids thrive on luxuries, one has to move up the social ladder and into a penthouse. To keep up with the Desais. And the rents are exorbitant," he wailed.
I thanked my lucky stars I was still middle class.
shopping complex . . .
still trying to figure out
which way is up