The trains are busy in Mumbai. Driving by one of the stations, I stopped to watch them pass by, criss crossing slowly through the tracks like the lazy meanderings of lovers on a Sunday afternoon. I was standing and watching them when she called out to me. She was sitting on the side walk, watching the trains too. “Madam, madam take a picture of me too please,” she said in perfect English. “Ok,” I replied and knelt down on the ground.
Then she started to laugh and changed her poses a few times as I clicked. I was turning to leave when she called out to me again. “Can I talk to you please Madam?” “Only if you are not asking me for money,” I replied. “I am not,” she said as she slowly got up and walked to me, “Not money, just a can of milk powder for my child.” “Hmm. ok,” I replied, “Where do we go for it?” She pointed vaguely to a side and said there was a medical store that way. I beckoned to her to walk with me but she said she would like to go in the car. “See, I have a limp.” Off we went. Outside the medical store, she pointed to the milk tins she wanted- the number 2 Lactogen. She held them close to her and turned to me and said, “You are a queen.” “I am nothing or we are all queens,” I murmured embarrassed before taking my leave.
In India where Karma is the real ruler, the queen, the arbitrary decider of our joys and sufferings, life is almost easily accepted and explained. For both of us, this was a debt I owed from a past life.