The Woman Who Sells Shade
The Woman Who Sells Shade3 mins 12.8K 3 mins 12.8K
I hate traffic jams. That too when you are headed to a beach for the Sunday outing. Waiting at National Highway 203 for the traffic light to go green, I started making wishes. "I wish my car could fly! I wish I had some magical power to reach anywhere in a fraction of a second!", and the never ending wish-list continued. By the way there is only one thing anyone can enjoy in such a situation, the song running in the radio. While listening to a Bollywood song and gazing at the world through the windscreen of my car, a woman caught my eye. She was dressed in a gray colored kurti and a colorful ankle-long skirt, resembling one of the Haryanvi dress. Her head was draped with a black dupatta which was probably used to avoid direct sunlight. Her dust streaked clothes were enough to describe her workplace which was this traffic signal where she sells window shades for car.
Carrying some shades in her hand she moved towards a car and knocked on the window in the hope that the person sitting inside will buy the shade. There was no response. She knocked again. This time I saw a hand coming out of the window and making a gesture of "get lost". Very quietly she, with a smile on her face, moved on. She reached out to other cars standing in the traffic and gets similar response. Some shout at her, some don't even care to roll down their window. In spite of this oppressive behavior she did not forget to smile.
After a while, a man calls her. She runs towards his car cheerfully and shows him the shades. Fortunately, the man buys two of her shades. I could feel her joy when she collects money and bows to him with respect. She wipes out the sweat dripping down her face with the dupatta. It was that moment when I thought to check the temperature. My phone showed "Bhubaneswar, 39 Degree Celsius". As the Air Conditioner was on, I was unaffected by the heat.
What about that woman, wandering around in this scorching weather to earn a living?
Does she deserve such a bad behavior from these so called "well-privileged" people who don't even think once before yelling at her?
Can't they treat the poor lady with respect who instead of begging, sells the shades?
I hope that someday they will develop some empathy.
Seeing her coming towards my car, I rolled down the window glass.
She said, "Saheb! Bohot dhup hai, chawni le lo" (Sir! Would you like to buy some shades?)
I replied, "Haan mujhe bhi inki zaroorat thi, mai char le leta hoon. Kitna hua?" (Oh yeah! I was in need of them. How much for four?)
While taking out the money from my purse, I asked her "Itni garmi me aap kaam kaise kar lete ho? Aapko dhup nahi lagti?" (You work in this high temperature, Don't you feel the heat?)
She replied with a smile, "Garmi toh lagti hai Saheb, par fark nahi padta. Bas itna hi sochti hoon ki mai kama ke apne parivar ka pet bhar sakti hoon." (Ya, the climate is hot but it doesn't affect me. I only think that I can feed my family through my business.)
I smiled back at her, paid for the shades and wished, "May God bless her and her family"
"Shukriya Saheb!", she said. (Thank you, Sir!)
And she continued to sell "shade" on that sunny road until the traffic light became green.