Kids, beggars, old people, rickshaw-wallahs, shoe-cleaners - they're all there to make you feel uncomfortable, pitiful & above all embarrassed. I had a pretty rough first week in India, 'coz you just can't say no to people with no limbs 'n stuff. But after a week in Delhi you get to know them pretty well! Later on I used to end up talking to them in the street, 'coz their attitude just annoyed the h*ll out of me. I don't want to seem rude or careless, but poverty is not their destiny - it's their job. There's a lot to do in India - kids collect bottles & stuff to earn some pocket money - so I think anyone can do it. It's just like this - for them it's easier to extend an arm in the street than make an effort. I guess it works, 'coz they're still out there, which means a lot of people give them money, but I just don't. I used to spend a lot of time on the terrace just watching people go by & then I noticed that these beggars have their own routine & something like a business plan. A mum is always standing by the side & she's directing her two children to potential victims - tourist who first came to Delhi & have no idea what awaits them. I mean, I can sound rude or something, but I just don't wanna give the money to the wrong people, like kids who're gonna buy some glue & sniff it right in front of me, you know. And if I see some beggar who's absolutely drunk out of his mind holding a Marlboro pack - well, if I'm not smoking it - sorry, neither will he! :)
Unique Suggestions: I used to tell the beggars to stop squinting, making funny faces & stuff & then I'd get them some food or something. But most of the time they demanded money, which means they're not actually hungry. When I was in Rishikesh I told an old lady I would buy her anything she wanted, but I won't give her money & she called me a Bastard! That's when I realized what they were like. You have to have an attitude & show them you're not just a stupid tourist.
Fun Alternatives: After a while you'll get to distinguish the people who are in real need. You can help them in so many ways...
It is hard not to give money to starving people with infany children in their arms. But do NOT do it. These beggars do not get to keep the money. It all goes to some small time thug who is 'running' the beggars in the area. The children are often kidnapped from small villages. Instead, buy a piece of fruit and let the beggar and child have it.
Another reason is, soon as you give out money, hordes of other beggars will surround you. This is a perfect opportunity for a pickpocket.
Keep your wallet in your front pocket. Ladies, sling your bag across your shoulder on it.
Watch out when you get at the Red Fort of Delhi (especially at the funfair next to the Red Fort). It's a beautiful site for sure, but around it are irritating salesmen. Also don't give money to beggars. When you give one something twenty more will harass you the whole time.
Don't give money to beggars. As sorry, sad, and needy as they may look, please resist your urge to give them a few Rupees. This will only cause you more pain when hordes of other beggars flock to you for money.