I saw her from a distance and instantly she looked up on me, our eyes met for a brief moment and I knew, she will come to me. I was shabby, but with a thick wallet held in hand, for no other reason than lack of a pocket in my boxers. She must have mistook it as an invitation. She was dark skinned, with pleated hair and that is all I could make out from the distance.
I looked to the left, in to a shop, though not looking for anything, only to avoid her gaze and being consciously aware of the ever nearing presence. I knew, my knees grow weak when such human forms looks at me, my skin gets in repulsion, when they try touch me, I always want to shout, 'please go away from me. In my world, there is no place for you. You were not supposed to be existing and your existence the way now, is in some mystique way my contribution as well, I shouldn't have let this happen to you, being the more evolved form I am'.
She was there right at my side trying to touch my left hand, pleading with her eyes. Had the cheap nail polish on torn nails and quite some talc. The dress was shabby, the nose a little crooked, a teeth broken at the tip and making gestures with her mouth. I looked at her for a moment, my hands itching to open my wallet and give her some money and run home and sanitize my hand. It was one long stare, I felt this woman, aged 5, knew the moment she saw me that I will be the perfect prey to ask alms for. Rub my conscious about her shabbiness and get away with the money I give to stop addressing it. I stared long back into her eyes, let her touch my arm, and kept staring and finally she backed out. Removed her arms and walked away.
I looked at her and I knew, it was not my making. There was nothing in the world that I had done, that transformed this 5 year old girl, into this 'woman' begging for alms. The sense of false responsibility I always felt, I knew was over with, because I am the last person who made their lives the way it is. Blame it on themselves, or the animal instincts in their parents, for whom progeny was the order every year. Blame it on the government or in the larger meaning, the system, which failed to make sure such class differentiations never happened in the society. I realize, I am not the one who robbed her childhood and suddenly I am no longer sorry for her having lost her childhood.