Thursday, September 04, 2008


There are a lot of homeless, hungry people on the streets of Chicago. Outside my apartment, I hear the jingle of coins all morning as a panhandler (urban beggar) downstairs shakes his large plastic cup at pedestrians. Many others simply sit slumped against a lamppost with a cardboard sign reading, "I am Hungry."

However, if there are hundreds of people pouring out of a baseball game and several other panhandlers to compete with then they get creative. One guy outside Wrigley Field held up a huge sign that read, "Why Lie? I just need a Cold Beer."

Another guy didn't bother with signs. In fact, I'm not sure his activities are even within the realm of begging. He takes a dollar to click a picture of you and your buddies all standing together before baseball broadcaster Harry Caray's sculture outside the stadium. You don't have to stop passers-by and request them to do it for you. Just give this guy your camera, get snapped up and stuff a bill into his cup.


Anahat said...

sounds intrinsically like American ingenuity.. I'll be in Chicago for thanksgiving... Mail me your number...

san said...

Alaphia, I read your comments about Modi, and also about current violence in Orissa, and frankly I find them communal. I am a non-religious atheist, but the activities of conversionist organizations are no more morally defensible than mail-order bride outfits. Even though I'm an atheist, I wish you'd stop singling out the VHP, which is an organization formed in reaction to the predations of other communal groups. The fact that the activities of such communal groups is not recognized, and only Hindu groups are singled out for criticism, tells me more about you than about the subject you're commenting upon. If one's heart beckons to cultures that emanate from abroad, feel free to dissociate yourself from societies and cultures whom you feel are unworthy of your self-proclaimed "moral superiority" (which to me frankly looks like nothing of the kind).

Alaphia Zoyab said...

San - How is it communal to denounce a man who stood by like Nero (the language of the Supreme Court of India) while Gujarat burnt and people were slaughtered in broad daylight? Violent mobs went around with lists in their hands and carried out one of the most systematic pogroms in independent India against a minority community. And on the question of the Godhra train burning incident, evidence found by the U.C. Banerjee committee so far suggests that it was an accident. Another Special Investigation Team under former CBI director Raghavan is still investigating it, so it cannot be said conclusively that it was organised murder. If it was that is equally condemnable.

I claim no moral superiority. Where did you come up with that? And,
try examining your own denial.

chaaichaai said...

Good title.

Alaphia Zoyab said...

Thank you Chaaichaai! Is this like the chaai chaai at railway platforms?

chaaichaai said...


Alaphia Zoyab said...

Got it ji.

Unknown said...

Hi alaphia,

I'm Karthik Rangarajan an IT professional currently residing in Elkridge, Maryland.
I had met you about two years back when you covered the campaign of Lok Paritran for NDTV during the Tamil Nadu assembly elections, near the mylapore railway station.
I'm also an active member of an organisation named 5th pillar, which effectively fights corruption in India.
We have a core team working for the organisation from Washington DC and would like to discuss with you on the same.
I found your blog page and searched for a channel to contact you, but found none. :(
So posting my contact details on the comments column. :)
It would be great if you can mail/call me, when you find time amidst your busy schedules.
My mobile number is: +1-786-564-0883.
My email address is:
Wishing you good luck and expecting your mail/call in anticipation.

Karthik Rangarajan.

Nagesh.MVS said...

Nice post.
Work From Home