Homeless, Partially Paralyzed woman does not beg.
. . . Chauhatta Lal Khan is a Mohalla, named after a Sufi Baba (spiritual leader)- Lal Khan. Don’t let yourself confused with ‘Chauhatta’ (CHAO-HUT-taw) it means ‘CHAOK’. Along with two dozens of Hindu houses, muslims dominate the area, which falls under Adampur Police Jurisdiction, is situated at the bank of Ganga in Varanasi, India. As this is my mother’s place, whenever I visit Banaras I stay at my Aunt’s place in the same locality.
In Chauhatta, I’ve observed an old woman, around 85 to 90 years of age, who can be seen on open street, right infront of holy mosque. She can not stand, neither with her own efforts nor can she stand on her knees with the help of others. Her knee caps have jammed, the lubricant fluid inbetween the intersection of bones has dried up, making her immovable on her feet.
She is homeless, and living in this hellish condition for some twenty years, but she does not beg, if you give her she does accept with blessings in return. But, do not expect her to ask you for a thing, you’ll be disappointed. Some of the responsible local people send her food before they dine themselves, thats what Islam says, ‘..make sure nobody in your neighbour- hood is hungry before having your food.’ Its overwhelming to see, some of them follow what holy book asks them to do.
OK, nothing special… !!
Hundred of thousand people live like this, but what they can’t do is living on road just infront of a two storey well structured, neatly painted house. For your surprise, the house is woman’s property where her daughter lives with family. Our woman doesn’t want to go in as she had once been thrown out of the home by her son-in-law, since then she is living under open sky. But, this is not her only misery.
On the big plateform of Dhai Kangoora Masjid, under an ancient fig tree, sits a Group of 70 plus years old men, groomed in white Kurta-Pyjama and skull caps, eases their decaying asses on Masjid’s chabootra. Its their fun time.
They talk about Islam, Hinduis, Christinity, then comes Onions, Tomatoes price. Modi and fukd up congress, US and Iran, Syria, PoK, Somalia, AL Shabab, RSS… blah blah.They must be worried a hell about the World.
While chating and argueing something, the oldest with broken waist 83 years old BABU, silently throws a pebble targeting the woman sitting in front of them. She starts cursing everybody on chabuttra, for the big-open-hearted laughter. Afterall, laughter is a good therapy, they must believe in ‘Throw a pebble on woman, let her abuse, then laugh aloud …’ do it once a day and keep the doctors away.
The woman had once shown me her hands. It was full of blues, reds bruises. A little pebble is enough to cut her old wrinkled skin. A limit is a limit, and one should not tolerate after a certain limit, thats what the woman’s ideology is, perhaps. In a summer afternoon when Langda Babu was there with an another Gang of Teens. They made fun of her with their pebbles, later when the boys went back, Babu stretched and snoozed off, not knowing that the old woman had determined to teach him. She crept with a king size stone to him so as not to wake him up …then, the stone bangs on Babu’s face. Rest is history. Now Babu Bhai is living with his left eyes
An alcoholic had once tried to rape her, thanks to the local boys who thrashed the 50 years old alcoholic and saved this old fragile body from being molested. I have seen her in wet weather, she was trying to shrink her body under an old plastic sheet. I have seen her in winters, she was vibrating …we tremble, we shiver in heavy clothes she vibrates in a blanket with 20 windows. She is given Zakaat, Fitra as muslims know her needs, which she keeps somewhere in her clothes. But I have also seen her crying when she finds out that the money has been stolen by one of the fifty addicts of heroine, morphine, grass or marijuana.
I feel sad, and offered her a permanent room in the same locality, but she doesn’t want any luxury anymore as she had lived a luxurious life until her husband was dead. Even the Gang in question accepts, “Yes, she was the most beautiful girl in Varanasi,” says Haq Sahab, a Retd JE from Electricity Board.
“Will you believe that when she was 20, two real brothers fell in love with her. She flirted to such an extent that one day younger one stabbed his elder brother to death in a desperate attempt to marry her, however court awarded the man a Lifeterm in prison.