Picture source: stock pictures
She couldn’t walk straight because she was very old, not sure but most probably in her 8Os. I don’t exactly remember the date but it was a usual, humid summer evening in Banaras, when I first saw her. I had just returned from my internship and was waiting for my snacks outside the kitchen of the hostel I was staying in. There was no cook in the kitchen and I had lost my hopes of getting any food that day.
As I turned back to go back to my room, I saw her; An old lady, with wisdom in her eyes and serenity on her face. She carried a polybag in her hands. As I saw her, the only question that popped in my head was “Who is she?” and unknowingly it popped out of my mouth as well.
The cook appeared all of a sudden, I have no idea from where, and said, “She? She washes utensils here. It’s been 7 months since she has been doing this here.”
Wait!! What?? She is so old. Is everyone here blind or what? How can they let her do this? And why is she doing this? With all these questions and anger on my mind, I rushed back to my room.
Next evening I saw her again and all those questions again started to bother me. So, this time I decided to go and talk to her. “Namastey!!” , I greeted her with a big smile on my face. She looked confused, may be because except the cook, no one ever talked to her. She didn’t reply but smiled at me and got back to her work. The utensils. I didn’t talk to her that day. And after that for around a week or two we were “smile friends” 🙂 . I would smile at her, she would smile back and that’s it.
One evening I decided that today I will talk to her. It really hurt me to see someone of her age to do so much work. And yeah, that day I talked to her.
I shouldn’t have talked to her. Whatever I got to know after that left me dumbstruck. I didn’t sleep that night. All my problems seemed nothing in front of what she was going through.
….to be continued.