Are Bhutanese people by nature compassionate? Or do we credit this compassion to Buddhism in us?
Last Sunday, I was waiting in my cousin’s taxi at the Centenary Farmer’s Market while he went to fetch few more passengers to Paro. There was one beggar on the steps of the wooden bridge over Wangchhu. As people climbed up and down the steps, I noticed many people stopping by the beggar and giving the poor man his day’s earning.
First a group of youth came down the steps. All of them handed him Nu. 5 note. After seeing them do so, a little girl handed him Nu. 5 note as well.
Afterwards, two nuns reached his side, looked at him with a mixture of sympathy and helplessness in their eyes and opened their purse and gave him Nu. 10 and Nu. 5 note respectively.
Unlike people coming down the steps, those climbing up were not so generous with their cash. Are they waiting for their return from the other side or is this got something to do with our belief that, poor are poor because of their generous nature? Usually we find rich people are more stingy and difficult to part with their money.
After a while a man in black gho climbed down the steps leisurely, paused at the beggar’s side. I thought he was having second thoughts whether to give or not to give. Finally he’s given in to the temptation and offered the poor man Nu. 10 note.
That was the last I saw of the transaction taking place since my cousin came with the required passengers and we started out with the journey to Paro.
I wanted to see the beggar so much but was lazy to get out of the taxi. I couldn’t see the face of the beggar because he was sitting behind the wall which barred my sight of him. But for the life of me I’d never understand why people there were so attracted to this beggar in particular.
Never had I seen people giving Nu. 10 note to any beggar. So what was the attraction? Was he (it could have been she) in such pathetic condition? Or is it because people in that particular region are more generous? I didn’t stay long enough to find out.