Image by lillaby from Pixabay 

It was a fine summer morning when my father and I were coming to the bus stoppage to catch my school bus. As soon as we came to the medical chowk, we saw a vagrant woman asking a tea-vendor for a cup of tea. But the tea-vendor refused to treat her as she had no money with her, rather he tried to chase her away from that place.

Just then my father took out a ten-rupee note, gave it to me and said, “Go and give it to the ravenous woman.” I, being a student of class V, went to her and offered her the note. But she wanted to drink a cup of tea and nothing else. So she kept uttering, ‘chai’, ‘chai’. My father, who was watching me from a little distance, replied, “Give the money to the tea-vendor and he will give you tea to drink.” Then we came to our stoppage. My father, being tender-hearted, told me about the lack of humanity in today’s world which resulted in an increase of ignorance, selfishness, apathy and hatefulness.

As we were ruminating, my father’s eyes caught the sight of the woman searching for something in her tattered sack. She searched and searched and searched and what I found her taking out of her bag really surprised me. I saw her taking out an apple, cleaning it with her scarf. She tried to say something to me. But I couldn’t understand what exactly she meant. My father, who understood her sign, observed for a while and said to me, “Do you understand what she is trying to do?” To which my reply was “No”. Then he said, “She is trying to speak to you. She is a woman having a mother’s heart full of love and affection. She wanted to offer you the best she could give in return of your kind help as a small boy.” Saying this, he said to the old woman, “Thank you, but his bus has arrived. He has to go.” For a moment it seemed as if she felt glue but meanwhile she expressed as if it was okay without uttering a single word and put the apple into her bag. I also got on the school bus but the incident of the early morning disturbed me all the day long.

When I came back after the school, I jumped down from the bus and started to look for that old woman. I became tearful as she was nowhere to be found but a dove sitting on the branch of a tree. I walked to my home with a heavy heart.

Till date I could not forget that incident although it has been five years. The memory of the old woman haunts me. How is she..! Where is she..!

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