I always loved taking leisurely walks here. In spite of being a busy street, the sidewalk is wide and well maintained. The street is lined with big, old trees that takes care of the scorching summer. Walking is always therapeutic, it helps me gather my thoughts and calms me down.
It took me a while to realize that nowadays I had suddenly started walking briskly at one point in the street. When I wondered why I was doing that, I realized it was because of this old beggar woman. No, she was not annoying or shouting like the organized beggars mafia you encounter nowadays at traffic signals. I can handle them easily. This lady did not annoy the pedestrians or shout loudly to grab attention.
This lady was anything but that. The first day I saw her, I took out a few coins out of my wallet, not even bothering to count, and gave it to her. The next time I was in a hurry and I just walked past her pretending to have not seen her. After that, its either one of these two reactions from me, every time I walk there. At times, I have wondered if I should give her a 10 or 20 rupee note, but have not got around to doing that. I have also felt like buying lunch for her, but I am terrified of listening to her voice or even getting to know when was the last time she had eaten.
If you ask me to describe her, I would fail. She wears this faded green saree, she could be the face of any old woman. In fact, I have never had a proper look at her face. Drop the coins and run, has been my mantra. I am scared of looking closely. What if her face resembles my granny's? I am scared, if her silent gaze asks me this tough question - How could you eat the yummy Corn Jalapeno sandwich while I sat on this pavement? I get back to office, wear my headphone, get immersed in work and push her to some remote corner of my mind.
I sometimes wish that the next time I walk on that street, she is not there!