#fiction #fictionalcharacters #begging

She hated the beginning of monsoon season. People were always in a huge hurry, less generous and more likely to trample her.
She always gave up going to the station for a week while the monsoon made up its mind about whether it wanted in now or a week later. People invariably forgot umbrellas, wore expensive shoes or clothes and then ran helter-skelter to preserve their precious belongings. Of course, it was a pointless exercise. The rain was faster than them all. And more importantly, had more staying power. How long could you run? But it could rain forever.

She shifted on her mat, folding one leg in half and curling the other around it. This way, she ended up sitting on one half of one buttock. And as anyone could tell you, one numb half buttock was much better than one full one. She pulled the cloth of her saree over her head. It wasn’t cold, but it was good to look like you were shivering.

The tap-tap-tap of the rain had reduced from the torrent it was. She licked her lips, tasting the tang of the coming monsoon on them.
Time for her yearly holiday. She wouldn’t come here for a week now. She’d sit at home, in her shack and her neighbour would give her two cups of tea a day. Her son would feed her a roti a night. It wasn’t a bad deal.

She jangled the tin at her feet and felt for the thin sheet of plastic on which she sat. Around her people walked down the stairs, hurrying to the trains, which then hurried them to wherever else.
She shook the tin at hurrying footsteps. After so many years of begging in the station, she could keep score of how many coins were in her tin by the sound. A good thing too, considering she was blind anyway.

She rattled her tin and raised her cupped hand to the heavens. God might not be listening, but some sap on his way home definitely would.


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