Beg to Differ!

Beg to Differ!

Rahul, a software consultant, travels regularly between Thane and Poona. Recently, while on board the Mumbai bound Madras Mail, he bumped into a strange co-traveler. A respectable-looking woman who appeared to be in her mid-thirties approached him and began a conversation. After the preliminary stranger-becomes-acquaintance round of questions, the woman started to narrate her distress tale. During the 10-minute or so monologue that followed, the lady recounted countless tragedies surrounding her life as she described that she was in dire need of money. Next, the woman asked her new acquaintance if he could help her financially. "How much can you give?" she asked bluntly.

By now Rahul realized that he was dealing with a sophisticated form of beggar who uses her phony tales of misfortune as a justification for begging. Somehow, to Rahul, the woman’s plight looked fabricated and he refused to get trapped in the ploy. Fortunately, he didn’t have to answer the woman’s question as the train arrived at Thane and he got off.

Although Rahul was avoided the trap laid for him, there are many others who may fall in the same trap. We urge our readers to be careful when dealing with total strangers. Before offering any kind of monetary help, use your good judgment to determine if the person is genuine or phony.

"Hello June 12, 1975"

The world is full of unusual individuals. Recently, we met one such individual:   Manohar Shenoy from Panch Pakhadi area in Thane. There is astonishing quality about him – he remembers individuals by their birth dates. Shenoy’s incredible memory retains accurate birth dates about every single person he has ever met. He may forget your name, but he will never forget your date of birth.   He often startles people he meets after years by accurately recalling their birth date.

Most people who know Shenoy regard him as a one-of-a-kind man. For the sake of fun and to test his ability, his friends, relatives and acquaintances often ask him their own birth dates and he never fails to amaze them. When asked to provide a rough estimate of the number of birth dates he remembers, Shenoy puts the figure at approximately four thousand.

An ex-Air force employee, Shenoy completed his defense service term in 1969. He is proud to be one of the survivors of the Jamnagar bombings by Pakistan on September 6, 1965. Presently he has retired from active employment and spends most of the time doing social work of or kind or another.

Shenoy is aware that birthdays are special occasions for everyone and therefore he simply loves wishing people on their birthdays, only to see the wonderful joy on their faces. But that’s not all. Each day, Shenoy wakes up before dawn and prays specifically for all his acquaintances born on that day. It is his belief that Early Morning Prayer reaps rich benefits and bestows plenty of blessings on those for whom he prays.

In his words, "I don’t do any favors on anybody by praying for them. I do it out of a sense of duty – in fact it’s become my second nature."

George Bernard Shaw once said, "Common people do not pray; they only beg". Shenoy’s prays for others. Thus his prayers retain the real essence of the prayer.

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