20 Apr 2016


Her hair definitely looks real, she always has a string of mogra wrapped around her bun. Her saree is draped quite well and the arches of her eyebrows are quite enviable. The only giveaway is that she has the tell-tale marks of still having to shave her face every day. She probably doesn’t have enough money to buy estrogen pills. 

She is fluent in Tamil and usually sweet. She comes and asks for money at the St. John’s signal. When people refuse, she asks them to give her at least one rupee. When they still don’t give her the money, she just tut-tuts and walks away. 

Once, when I was having a bad day, she came to me. I fished out a 100-rupee note and handed it to her. Her face didn’t light up, she took it and was fishing for change. I stopped her and told her to keep it. Then her face lit up, “naa vechhikattuma?” (shall I keep it?). I nodded and smiled. She said, “thank you” and traipsed off. 

I smiled a little more. The self-gratifying smile of someone who doesn’t actually do anything to make lives better but does small things to make themselves feel better.

But today, at the signal, she came by. She didn’t recognize us (I didn’t expect her to). We didn’t have any money, we were actually headed towards an ATM. So The Roomate shook his head when she asked him for some money. 

She said, “naasamaa po!” (be ruined!) and stalked off.