10 rupee love
Excerpt from book Being moon on 31st crossroad
Almost two years back, while I was walking into our shop, a very old woman, probably in her late 80’s, was standing in the entrance and begging. I gave her a 10 rupee note and walked into the shop in a hurry. After sometime when I looked out, she was standing there looking at me, and as soon as she realized that I saw her, she bowed to me, a gesture for thanking me. Since that day, she comes to our shop regularly for her usual 10 rupees. She would come and stand outside and slowly peep in and only if she sees that I am sitting there, would she walk in. If it is my cousin or dad sitting, she would just go and come back later to see if I have come. Whenever she comes and peeps from outside, our staff notifies me jokingly that my friend has come. Few days later she stopped coming to the shop, which initially I didn’t notice. The last time I saw her, she had a wound in her leg. So when I enquired about her, my staff concluded that she might be taking rest due to her wound. I waited for a few more days for her to return, but she didn’t. I then asked one of our staff to check with the roadside dwellers nearby and the beggars in the area about her whereabouts. My staff asked me if I knew her name, and that is when I realized that I didn’t even know her name, though we have been meeting every single day for two years. After checking everywhere and asking many people, he came back and said that she used to sleep near the medical college waiting shed but since few days no one has seen her. That evening while driving back, all the while I was thinking about her, what could have happened to her and will I ever see her again? I was not sad or anything, but slowly meeting her every day had become a ritual for me. My grandmother’s age, I think I loved her calling me ‘son’.
Next day afternoon when I was sitting in the shop, she came. I was so happy to see her that I went out, and the first thing I did was to ask her where she had been and what her name was. She told me it is Rosamma, and she was not well and that is why she didn’t come all these days. She stays with her granddaughter and granddaughter’s husband now, in a place called Nedumangad. I took some money, not much, and gave it to her, just in case she needed it for the treatment and asked her to come and visit me if she needed any help. I saw a drop of tear coming from her cataract affected eyes. She said she just came to see me because she dreamt of me yesterday, that I am looking for her. So she wanted to come and tell me that she won’t be coming again as her granddaughter has agreed to look after her. She took her usual 10 rupees and told me that I shouldn’t feel bad that she didn’t accept the money, because she wanted me to know that she came just to see me one last time. While that tiny little woman slowly limped away, a drop of tear fell from my eyes, knowing that, probably it would be the last day that our lives would cross. One almost 90 year old Rosamma had to come from somewhere to make me feel pricelessly special and all the while, dumb me thought that I was helping her with few 10 rupee notes…♥