An old lady

She pulled my sleeve and asked something I couldn’t understand. An old lady with wrinkled skin, hunchback and light brown curly hair. She was muttering, hard to even guess the language. Through her gestures I figured she wanted to know where the next train would go. I answered, thrice, raising voice each time. She understood or gave up, I cannot say. I told her to sit, as there were still ten minutes for the train to arrive, which she promptly did.

I thought of asking her where she wanted to go. She was gazing at the floor and didn’t seem to want any interruption. Train arrived. She was still gazing down. I said, “Kaku, train aali (Aunty, train has arrived)”. She didn’t seem to hear. I patted on her shoulder and pointed towards the train. Her little piercing black eyes travelled their way towards mine. She got up with her small sack. I went ahead and she dragged herself behind me. As the train neared, my instinct kicked in, I forgot all about her and went inside. I knew she would get in, so I crawled my eyes and saw her curly crown in the next compartment moving away from me. I thought of calling her and offering my seat. Dropped the idea, partly because it would be difficult to make her understand.

Eventually, I was dozzing off on a window seat. Then I saw her again. She was trudging along the passage with one palm spread out. Begging. Mumbling something under her breath. I felt violated. Angry. For a reason I am yet to know. I looked out of the window as she passed by, having forgotten me I suppose.

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