When everything else fails, God helps

Invoking God and art helps beggars make even those reluctant to give money to drop a few coins in their palms. And it also helps keep cops away.

Children, monitored by their teenaged mentors and displaying skills of gymnastics – jumping through a hoop or wriggling into an iron ring to display flexibility of their young bones – are a common sight across the capital.

The kids performing the stunts refuse to term this as begging. Though they say they earn money by displaying their skill, some of the details shared by them show it is not just that.

“We are from a village near Alwar. Though almost all kids in our village could perform these stunts, one of our distant relatives trained us for the job.

Four more kids from our village earn their living by performing the stunts. All of us stay together with our uncle near Okhla railway station,” said Ravi, the eldest of the three siblings performing stunts outside National Museum.

Ravi added that they have been in the City for the last two years and the India Gate circle has been their favourite hunting ground, especially on weekends when it attracts a bigger crowd.

Another popular form of begging is in the name of God. Several beggars are often seen outside Metro stations and in marketplaces, carrying idols and pictures of gods and goddesses or simply placing them at fixed spots.

“We carry the idols as per the day of the week when they are especially worshiped. The list includes Maa Durga, Hanuman ji and Shani Dev. However, people offer more money in the name of Shani Dev, who is worshiped on Saturday,” a beggar said.  He is a regular visitor to the old Hanuman Mandir near Connaught Place.

Similarly, some use snakes as a symbol of lord Shiva to ask for money. They visit residential areas and parks, asking for money because the sight is a ‘good omen.’

Capturing snakes happens to be illegal.

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