Human civilization has evolved, from carts to cars, from leafy costumes to the tuxedos and ball gowns, from wood furnishings to the metallic architecture, and what not. We have the advanced technology now, and the pros and cons of these inventions too. We are so eager to have the luxuries that we fail to realize many important things.
Here, in a small town of Gwalior, I observe the eye-catching scenarios.
In the hustle and bustle of the town, I notice a woman with a sheet of fabric spread over, encroaching on the footpath. It was a shabby mattress, with a thin cotton-stuffed handkerchief to lay her head on.
Was it really a handkerchief?
I wondered to myself. It wasn’t, perhaps. It was a pillow in disguise. Numerous Tiffin dabbas lined at the borders.
What is she up to?
The woman, 55 or so, could be observed daily by any passer-by, as she holds her 10*10 property. She sleeps there, she sits there, she eats there, and she fixes her tangled hair, there…. The whole day she keeps herself active.
But, in what activity?
I wonder, and I keep on wondering.
I never could gather the courage to approach her and ask. Or was I too busy in my own personal jobs, that I couldn’t spare 2 minutes to share a moment with a stranger that struck my mind? She raised my curiosity levels, but there’s nothing I can do about it now.
There’s another lady in my life, just like this one. But my relationship with her is a bit different from the former.
I talk to her. No, nothing personal at all! The only exchanges between us are about vegetables- very simple and light hearted.
“Tai, kese diye nimbu?” (Aunty, How much for the lemons?)
“Beta, tu lejaa..bata 10 ke 5 dedu?” (Kid, they cost 10 INR for 5 units. Why don’t you take some?)
“Haan ji, dedo.” (Okay aunty, Please give me some.)
I know I am very poor at buying groceries, while my mom is a pro at bargaining. Moms got those skills, anyway. But I do have my own uniqueness. Keeping aside me bragging about my talents, I shall tell you about the lady.
The lady is a vegetable vendor. She doesn’t own a cart or a shop. She spreads her goods on a printed sheet of fabric, on the floor.
There’s nothing so deep between us, but these minor to and fro exchanges, her pure smile – the purest of all, and a hope in her eyes- an unknown hope, is enough to pull me.
She sits upon the floor amidst the buzzing grocery sellers on carts, with her antiques displayed. She cannot shout, like other vendors do. But, you want a cabbage or the green chillies, or the lemons or the lycopenoids, have a visit to her place, and she greets you the best.
Senescence has its own charisma only a few can see. Do we need to be wise enough to understand the hidden message? But I’m not wise. Then why do I have such a thought process? As philosophically said, “There are no answers to some questions.”