Every day follows the other like a faithful follower. The almanac torn page after page for months to breeze past. Seasons expire, yet... life never comes to a standstill.
Walking through some narrow lanes left alone with the trail of a once beckoning history dilutes time. The towering Gothic structures admittedly evoke awe.
A lonely hand outstretched disturbed the meditative admiration. The rag picker had a haunting look overlooking an expectant coin to be dropped. The tobacco chewed and darkened teeth shone with a brownish red tinge. The lips widened making the teeth conspicuous. Another shuffle and the coins rubbed each other creating a sonorous harmony, music ensemble of a deprived lot. The left hand hit her belly involuntary, portraying hunger or a silent request to help her survive!!! The bubbly young kid with the hands on her hips swayed left and right. A look at her and she hid behind the shade of the polyester saree. The piece of cloth hung in tatters, a part of the mounds exposed. On the left hung a sack burdened with an uncared soul. The tiny future obliterated in the burgeoning populace of the emaciated. Snuggling in the race of survival!!! Nothing earned, nothing lost.
Unexpectedly, in split second amazement a smaller palm came outstretched. The shy little champion had become bolder in the enquiry. A look at the tiny palms evoked sympathy. The lines of fate callously double-crossed the lines of luck in those little requests. Pity squeezed the better out from the principled male ego and a rupee coin involuntarily tossed into the stretched out little fingers. The fingers folded, making a safe niche for the worthy coin. She looked at the begging guardian with a feel of achievement, who by then had turned to the next passer by. A sense of earning enveloped her twinkling eyes. So did a sagacious illumination in the darkest corridors in the donor. He had unknowingly directed those little hands to follow the murkier world of easy money.
Shanties as a home and occasionally with streets as a cushion, lamppost bases to recline, unaware of how life has to be indulged, they survive struggling, digging the same hands at times to empty some pockets of cash, sometimes to search for the crumbs of left out and decaying food in the dumping yards, ending in a rage.
The rag picker prepared to move. A coin fell and she stooped to pick. A shameless streak of sindhoor faintly decorated the scalp, splitting her hair into two equivalents. Value of the maroon stood demeaned. Any worth for her vermilion marks?? I stopped wondering and went ahead to enjoy the simplicities life offered at a discount.