Source: A WhatsApp forward
It was the night of 30th Dec. And it was cold out there.
They were returning from a party at a friend’s place.
As they were hitting the main road, at the corner he caught sight of a homeless beggar squat on the pavement and pulling tight around himself a torn shawl, not entirely successful in holding off the shivering cold.
He slowed down and stopped the car a little distance ahead.
‘What happened? Why’re you stopping the car? Any problem?’ his wife got a wee bit tense.
‘No, nothing wrong with the car. Look there, an old man shivering in cold.’
‘We have a shawl with us in there. Let’s give it to him.’
‘What? That expensive stuff we bought for my mom?’
’Let me get it…what to do? There’s nothing else to spare…we’ll get another one for your mom.’
‘You know what? He is not going to use it, let me tell you. He’ll trade it in for some weed. They do it all the time.’
He picked up the shawl from the seat behind and got down.
Went up to the man, draped the shawl around the startled man fearing worse. Stepped back to have a look. With a wave of has hand, left him behind and returned to the car.
They came home in silence.
On 31st night once again there was a party they attended more or less in the same area.
Later they took the same route on the way back home.
The homeless beggar was at his spot.
‘See, what I told you, I can’t see the shawl,’ observed the wife.
He stopped the car and both of them got down.
‘What Baba, where’s the shawl we gave you yesterday? Bought yourself some ganja with it, eh?’ the wife said mockingly.
A bony arm stuck out pointing to a figure crouching on the pavement some distance away, shrouded in what appeared to be the shawl.
His voice was tremulous: ‘One leg, polio affected. Draws unwelcome attention from passers-by. She is without clothes even to cover herself properly. At least I have this for myself.’
They returned to their car without a word. She was sure there was another shawl in the bedroom closet.