A Beggar Robbed

She clutched her bag and hurried towards him. Hearing her light footfall he smiled adding a glow to the evening sky. She quickly pulled out and opened a packet. It contained three pav-vadas. One for herself, two vadas and a loaf for him, and the remaining loaf for Kalia, who had instinctively followed her wagging his tail. They were a daily threesome on that bridge.
He was blind. She was dumb. He was old. She was young. Destiny could have brought them together or mere accident. It didn’t bother them. They didn’t ponder over meaningless questions. They were just happy to have found each other. For four years they had followed this routine through every season, with little variation, except in the food she brought. Each morning she would greet him with a pat on his shoulder, he would smile in return and she would be on her way. In the evenings, she would bring their meal; they would share it and then part for the night.
One morning, she arrived in her dirty attire, eager for that smile - warmer than the rising sun. The spot was empty. Frantic, she ran up and down the bridge, wondering where he could be.
Aye pagli. Woh tera andha buddha  aur uska kutta dono gaye. Raat mein kisine kuchal dala. Munsipalty ki gaddi dono ko utha gayi.”  (You mad woman, your blind old fogey and his dog have gone. They were run over at night. A municipal van took them away a while back.)
Shell-shocked she returned to his spot. She sank on her knees and caressed the ground that had absorbed his smell over all these years. Passersby were indifferent, unaware that some heartless, reckless driver had plucked away the only love she knew in her hopeless life.


More by :  Shernaz Wadia

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