She was dressed in rags.
She looked so dirty and repulsive that I hesitated and drew back from her in the crowded railway station looking around to see if anyone caught me doing that.
When she saw my hesitation she smiled sadly and turned away from me, but not before she whispered: “God be with you sir”.
As I watched her move away I felt touched by her words.
She looked so unfed. Her body looked very malnourished. From where I stood it felt like she needed all the food she could get.
I struggled with my emotions as she walked away, yet I could not grant her request. It was a long journey ahead of me, a five hour journey and I sure would need a bottle of coke. Or even a bottle of water at least. The ten pounds in my wallet would barely cover my transportation from the station to grandma’s house.
People turned away from her as she walked towards them. They held up their nose up at her odor and turned their backs on her – Just like I did.
Confused, tired and dejected she looked around hesitantly. That was when I caught sight of her lips. They were so dry; so patched that I knew could hold on to that bottle of coke no longer.
I called out to her and apologizing for turning her away the first time. I let her have it all – the bottle of coke. When she collected it from me her features changed and she smiled.
With a shaky voice she whispered: “God bless you beyond your reasoning Mister, You are such a life saver”
She never drank from the bottle. Instead she walked away, hastening her steps. My curiosity made me follow her.
Right around the corner, near the railway workers shed she stopped and bent beside a bundle of rags. She uncorked the bottle and emptied the contents into the mouth of a little boy wrapped in the bundle.
I felt weak, so weak that I fell to my knees as a sob rose to my throat, choking up in my guts. Tears welled up in my eyes as I realized my error.
I could have turned away and allowed the child die of thirst. To my feet I rose again and walked towards her, dipping my hands into my pocket to part with my ten pounds. She thanked me nonstop till I left her side. Such was her joy
Till I got to my destination I never stopped crying. In my heart the pictures repeated themselves.
Her smile when she received the ten pounds was heart-rending. Her joy when she bought herself a bottle of water from the 10 pounds was overwhelming.
Till date when I think about it tears well up in my eyes. I only thank God for not allowing me choose a need so trivial over a life so wonderful.
Even though I never saw them again I never failed to whisper a word of prayer for their souls and I sure hope to God that I shall find them in heaven.
Where once again I will apologize for almost ignoring them at the point of their needs…….
©20-Feb-12 (edited 8th April)