There is a small makeshift hut beside the road on my way to the office. It's structure by standard doesnt even come close to be called as a decent kiosk. It's slightly raised above the ground ,to avoid flooding during heavy rain. The roof is made out of a tin that is used as drum for storing bitumen meant for road blacktopping. It has become rusty and filled with leaks.
Every day ,an old woman would come and sit in that hut for an entire day to sell her things. She come very early in the morning and retires to home before the sun set. She would always come with cane basket,Which is just partially filled and would display her sales in the tiny space as close to her lap. There would be few vegetables, fruits,some dairy products and few collections of sweets and supari .
I wonder ,does passerby even give her an attention let alone buying her things. Whether or not if there are buyers ,she is always present there in her small hut rain or shine. Often I see her sealing the roof leak with a plastic. When it's sunny, she would be seen fanning herself with a piece of paper. Some times when I pass by her ,she would hawk me to buy some cucumber or cheese. I hardly bought because I usually do all my buying from a particular shop with whom I am acquainted closely.
When I return from the office,it seems it is her time too to retire for the day. I see her loading her stuffs and gearing up home bound. Although not sure,I observed that the size of her basket looks the same as I have seen in the morning. Maybe i am wrong but if what I saw is true then apparently nobody seems to have bought anything from her.
It did not occur to me Until one evening . I was lying supine on the carpet ,right under fan. Prior to going home, I wanted to buy some local cheese but couldn't find one from anywhere. So I came along to check out at the old granny's hut. But to dismay she wasn't there either. She left for home quite earlier than her usual time. I saw few papers rain soaked and scattered on ground. She use papers for wrapping doma and sweets for kids.
Now it's been a week,the old granny did not show there. Only her deserted hut stand there ,sometimes a mange dog is spotted taking refuge there from the rain. In the evening,the hut looks ghastly and desolate. The cars on the road are plying as usual,few kids are gleefully running home bound. Everything seems to be normal except her hut. Every time I take time in looking at that spot to check if she has returned. But it's been a week and still the hut is empty. Perhaps the old granny has succumb to an illness,bed ridden or in worst case she might have just left the world. On many account I have noticed her persistent cough ,way distractedly.
I just feel I owe her something although in real I don't. May be because i ruefully never bought anything from her. I can imagine her struggling to make her ends meet. Perhaps next time I see her again I will have to buy her local cheese balls. Meanwhile I can simply count the days to settle my mental overdue with the old granny but I doubt if she will appear again.