The Old Lady

The old lady sat on the footpath smoking a cigarette. In front of her was a piece of tarpaulin, and on top of it wad a big pile of gooseberries. She was sitting there to sell them, and this was her source of incomeher daily routine. She did not remember how long had it been since she started selling them on that footpath, but she knew it had been long. For she had been there when the giant building behind her was called the Royal Nepal Airlines Corporation, and it had been about ten years since the Royals were removed.

She used to sell gooseberries in Ason, the busiest place in Kathmandu, Nepal, for retail shopping. However she had to move because the local shopkeepers didn’t like her setting shop outside their doorsteps. She was walking away from that place, when she had discovered the giant building, and the bus park in front of it. The mass of people flowing in and out had motivated her to set up her makeshift  shop there. For some time her business bloomed. She didn’t have land to grow gooseberries, so she had to buy them in order to sale, but the profit was big enough for her to not care.

Many years had passed since those days. For some reason, the number of people in the bus park went up, but her customers went down. Forget the profit, she could barely make money needed to survive the day. On bad days, there were no customers at all, and she had to go to bed with an empty stomach. Today was one of those bad days.

She had been sitting in that bus park since nine in the morning, but her income was dead, so she should be mourning. She looked at the pile of gooseberries in front of her. It was not the best she had ever sold, but she did not have the money to buy better ones. It was getting late, and no matter how many people passed by, no one seemed to notice her. Dejected, she started packing her berries. Looks like her family would go to bed hungry today too. No, she thought. She had to manage some money, some loan, for she could not let her family down.

Her train of thought was interrupted by a young boy in a college dress. He seemed to be interested in the gooseberries. He asked if they were for sale. She apologised and said they were not that good. He said he didn’t mind, and bought some and walked away.

The old lady didn’t know where he came from, or where he would go, but she knew one thing, and that was, she had some money to take home.

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