The Alms

The multiple visits, petitions and urges to the bank had finally paid. The frustration and fatigue of travelling back home by a crammed public transport vehicle with varied odours of sweat more than oxygen to breath , after work suddenly didn’t hamper the smile on Naveen’s face.

He waited for the bus everyday, tired, eager to go home and leap into his bed, but today’s eagerness, rather to be called- excitement to reach home had another reason. Unable to hold his rhapsody any long, he called up his wife.

“Hello Kripa! Prepare something special for dinner today, a sweet dish maybe kheer, or gulab jamun…….. Yes yes! I am very happy, because it’s a very special day for us, we’ll soon have your own house, and you’ll be the Rani of our house!……. Yes yes Kripa! Our home loan has got sanctioned………. now you won’t have to adjust with four people in 1BHK……..Now nobody will disturb us. Just you and me in our little paradise …….. Ya I’ll reach I half an hour ……. Ok bye, love you!”

Just as Naveen dismissed the call, he drifted into this paradise, currently who’s bricks  and cement were made of his day dreams.
Hand-in-hand, Naveen brings his blindfolded wife to their brand new house. The blindfolds opens to tears rolling down her eyes, accompanied by a soft smile. “Naveen and Kripa Singh” the nameplate read. Holding her hand tighter than ever, Naveen pulled Kripa close, danced and swayed on the beats of joy . It never felt more picture perfect until the bus honk blared in his ear.
Naveen shifted further in the bus line when his sight fell on an old beggar across the lane. She sat pale, under the soring temperature on an old jute bag. The only sari on her body was dusty and wearing out with holes pleading to be empathized. The wrinkled skin hung by her lanky frame, as she looked up with gratitude at the donators half of her age.  Her skinny fingers with decayed nails shivered and struggled to grip the bowl as people dropped alms of a coin or two.
Naveen felt pity for the old lady’s condition but she was just another old beggars one usually finds by the streets and stations. But it wasn’t just another day for Naveen and neither was she, just another old beggar on the street. It seemed as a usual scene, until something caught Naveen’s curiosity.
Naveen observed that everytime somebody dropped a coin in her bowl, she would mumble something to them, which ofcourse he couldn’t hear from across the lane . He presumed that the old women was probably mentally unstable, blabbering to herself, but soon noticed her, responding only when somebody bent down to drop the penny.

Picture credits- flikr- Ahead Mohimin

Unable to hold himself back , Naveen spontaneously jumped out from the bus stand to the other side of the lane towards the old lady. Slipping out a note of ₹50 from his wallet, he lowered on his toes to her eye level.

“Maa ji, how may I help you?”

Naveen enquired with a concerned tone partially mixed with curiosity.

The old woman lifted her earnest eyes to meet that of Naveen’s and mumbled with an exhausted tone partially mixed with plead-

“Don’t throw your old parents out of your house.”