Love within the Rags

As usual Kheshma Raj walked with quick strides through the busy main street of the city to reach in time, to her office to mark the attendance within the specified time and avoid the embarrassment of marking the same in front of the sharp eyed scrutiny of the Supervising Officer. She felt that her heavy panting hearts were more noisier than the blasting horns of the speedy vehicles which overtook the slow or cautions ones, to reach their destinations proving, Darwin's theory of survival of the fittest on their own advanced modern way. Just as the same hectic noisy scene she viewed everyday the same probing question crossed her mind with its usual worries, "Can I ever came to office without these tensions or worries, and let my mind work in peace?" How is it possible? The kids have to be sent in time to catch their school bus, with packed snacks and lunch. And Raj to be let free with his own office issues, the part-time servant packed off satisfactorily so that she may appear promptly the next day. Well, partially the consuming thoughts did its magic, it made Kheshma forget the distance of the walk from bus stand to the office. And there by the gate-side of her office, she stood all alone like the last verse of the 'Daily Reading', that same old Lady in rags with a dainty smile revealing the gaps of her fallen teeth and mixed stain of tar-tar and beetle leaf. Wasn't that smile, the day's booster for Kheshma? It lifted her from low spirits. The old beggar woman seeking alms draped in rugged clothes, shriveled face, a short stooping figure, always showered a smile at Kheshma. Kheshma didn't realize how her hawk like sense distinguished her every movement until she roused that question one day. The office decided to hold a promotion exam and the eligible candidates were requested to undergo a training program, for a complete week. Kheshma somehow cajoled her husband and the maid servant to cooperate with her and relieve her to be in time for the training which was an hour and a half before the office hours. It surprised Kheshma when the beggar women asked her "Amma, why have you come so early". Astonished Kheshma replied, "I have to study for an exam", that Lady nodded as though she could understand everything. Then it became a habit for the lady to utter a line of interrogation everyday during these early hours of training like, "when will the study end", "when is the exam" etc. More surprises awaited Kheshma. On the day of the exam, the old Lady asked, "when will you know whether you have passed?" Kheshma replied, "After a month", then followed the old routine life once again. After a few weeks, once again the Lady said, "Amma have you known whether you have passed? I am praying for you daily". Kheshm's heart missed a beat. How many person do this unless we ask them to, how many of them sincerely render their whole hearted prayers to God for others prosperity without being selfish.

At last the day came, the results were published and Kheshma bagged high marks. Triumphant Kheshma felt it an obligation to pass the news to the beggar woman with a gift. That day Kheshma asked her, "Tell me what you need urgently?" She said, "Amma, I had an old umbrella, while I dozed someone has stolen that." That day Kheshma told Raj that she needed an umbrella for an old friend and shared the story. Raj who has seen on various instances Kheshma's accumulation of rare friendship didn't respond anything negative.

Now as Kheshma reached the office gate everyday, the old Lady not only gives her smile but also lifts that brand new gifted umbrella proudly. But this expression only increases the agony of Kheshma for, after a couple of months due to some administrative reasons, the result were cancelled and all the efforts which Kheshma had put for the exams were in drain, yet Kheshma concealed this fact from that old Lady for she didn't want the love within Rags to get tainted.


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