The narration is based on an incident which occurred on one of my daily commutes in train.
I start reading as soon as I get a seat and sometimes I fall asleep. It was a usual day in train until I had this touching and memorable experience, which will always stay in my heart.
I feel guilty for I could have bought one ticket from her. At first I did not notice her as many sales persons approach me every day. It doesn’t mean I am rich because many sales persons approach those who travel daily in train. I had a feeling that someone was with their back faced to me. I felt a sudden urge to raise my eyes from the self -help book I was reading. I saw an old woman trying to sell something to a family who seemed to be going for vacation. Despite her sustained appeal not even a single item was purchased. I didn’t try to look what she had failed to sell as I was not ready to attract her business interest towards me. She turned around and walked away without even glancing at me, and then it just occurred to me that she had tried to sell ‘Lottery Tickets’.
But she had never looked at me and walked away, though I was ready to buy one. I don’t know whether it was my willingness to help her or my curious interest to test my luck in search of money, which one of the two had dominated my mind then. But my ego did not allow me to call her back and buy one ticket since I was not ready to show my wish for money. I was wondering what a poor business woman she had been, simply walking away from a chance to sell her products. I left the incident and started to concentrate on the book which I had kept open for some time.
The train was approaching the next station, and I saw someone rushing in to a vacant seat diagonally opposite mine. It was the same lady but with a dull and worried face. She was counting the unsold tickets which she had in her hand. Though I had not tried to read her face before, I was pretty sure that it was shadowed with clouds of pain. I was wondering whether I could offer to buy a ticket from her, but she never looked at me. I turned my attention to the book, but I was unable to concentrate, the lady had grabbed complete my attention.
Once again I glanced at her; she was beginning to fall asleep. The mental ache of a failed business and fruitless hard work of a weak body must have tired her. Though she was asleep, she had not occupied a full seat completely. She was half seated though plenty of space was available as if she had occupied a seat which did not belong to her. I was completely looking at her with sympathy. She was too old for such a job at this time on a busy train. The wrist watch she wore was not a cheap one which she must have acquired in her younger days. She must have got a good family life in the past and hailing from a good family. It was clear from the way she was dressed and her unwillingness to beg.
I wonder what must have forced her to work at this age. Has her children abandoned her or is she in desperate need for money to support her family. Does she have any resemblance to my mother? No she is much older than my mother; the only similarity is the wrist watch and the way she is dressed. What if my mother was in her place? It could never happen to my mother, I am alive and as healthy as a bull, I will look after her. My father is alive and living happily with her. He has his pension and naturally mother becomes the next heir in his absence.
My wife is employed too, will she look after her?. My little daughter who chants her grandmother’s name always will be with her. I just woke up from my deep thought and I searched the lady. She was waiting to get down as soon as the train stops. I was still having the money in my hand, which I had picked up unconsciously from my pocket to buy ticket from her. Why did she hesitate to approach me? Perhaps she might have noticed me. What must have stopped her from asking me and ironically what was preventing me from offering a business?