“Rediscovering her dignity.”   11 comments

It was another blazing day in Chennai. No one barring the juice men loved the sun when it unleashed its fury upon the hapless residents. It meant steady business for them and at the end of the summer, they laughed all the way to the bank. It was on one such busy day that I was waiting for my friend in a juice shop by the side of an arterial road. Everything was running according to the script for the owner of the shop. There was a steady stream of people coming in and choosing from the wide variety on offer and his dedicated employees were taking orders without any delay and delivering them promptly. Customers from all walks of life occupied seats neatly arranged under colourful umbrellas. The less fortunate ones had to stand with watchful eyes to occupy a seat the moment it went empty. Lovers whispering sweet nothings into each other’s ears, families with warring siblings, men on top of their voice over cell phones and giggling college girls completed the environment. Keeping an eye on this perfect setting was the enterprising owner who, amidst all the cacophony, spotted the regulars and promptly called out their names and waved at them.

Suddenly, into this perfect world, enters a destitute woman. In her endless journey through the pavement, knocking on the doors of every store she passed by, she had decided to halt at the juice shop today. Draped in a threadbare cotton sari, her young age was betrayed by the sagging skin, frail hands and hesitant steps. Her body bore visible signs of endless battles with poverty. As she stopped by the juice shop, her eyes searched for souls who could empathize with her plight. With her hands held together in prayer, she approached the ones perched under the shade uttering something indistinctly. The elites were terrified at the very sight of her. Some scurried for cover all the while warning her to stay away. The others shrieked and shooed the frail woman away. By now the outcast came under the radar of the owner. The employees, after receiving orders from him, came searching for her. Before the approaching men could chuck her out, she stumbled upon a stranger who gave ears to what she was pleading for. From then on he took over the situation.

The stranger asked her whether she would like to have a glass of juice. When the woman nodded in the affirmative, the man sat her down on the chair beside him and offered her his glass of juice.I clearly saw the woman’s sun strained face light up suddenly. This time it was not out of joy but something which transcended it. It looked as if the woman had rediscovered something which she had lost long ago: “her DIGNITY”. Wiping the tears rolling down her cheeks, she drank her glass of juice in the most civilized manner possible. The woman thanked the stranger with folded hands, meanwhile the stranger paid for the juice. It dawned upon the onlookers that the frail woman in fact was pleading for something to quench her thirst which they mistook for alms.

As they both parted ways, the stranger had already taught them what real RESPECT was and the frail woman had showed them what real DIGNITY is. The onlookers learned a lesson or two about what it takes to listen to a fellow human being. Having witnessed all this I uttered to myself that HOPE IS STILL ALIVE !!


Posted November 9, 2013 by Aneesh in INDIA, Madras Miscellany

Tagged with , , , , , ,

11 responses to ““Rediscovering her dignity.”

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  1. That was a very moving story – I loved it:-) You told it in a very captivating way, thanks:-)


  2. Thanks for sharing this heart touching story! Keep sharing!


  3. Very touching. Thanks for sharing this story.


  4. Very precise and well framed post is this. Drew a smile on my face in the end but then I think can’t this ray of hope, this line of goodness get darkened? The vision of a better world if stays alive in our hearts, the day won’t be far when every lady of the kind in your post will live with dignity. 🙂


  5. Good of you to share this story. You have written it very well too.


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