The College Of Self Educaton And Two Young Men--iii
Sudhakar resumed his monologue, with an appeal to his friend, "Look here, Venkat. We have still some time. I can't carry the old woman single-handed down the slope. If I hold any part of her body, I am afraid, it may get dislocated. She is so fragile, I am sure, left to herself, she may glide down to her death. Let us help her make the slope. She may live or die thereafter. We should atleast have done our duty. For, have we not seen the misery with our own eyes? The policemen may kick her. We will buy a towel. Then, we will make her sit on
that and carry her ndown the slope of the bridge."
Venkat did not say a word in reply. He accompanied his friend to a cloth shop where Sudhakar bought a towel. The salesman wanted to put it in a fancy bag, but Sudhakar asked for a large sheet of paper instead.
It was ten O' clock. They met a few office colleagues on their way.
The old woman was still sitting there. She had inched down a little more distance. Sudhakar and Venkat apporached her, and stood hear her, in silence.
Sudhakar looked at the empty tin. The old woman had eaten the banana and its skin was lying beside.. She had eaten one idli also. The chatni was spiled inside the tin.
"Are you still here?" asked Suduakar. "If the policeman comes, what will you do?"
"Yet, Babuji. He hit me Babuji. 'Get out, get out,' he shouted." The old woman again lifted her left hand. She must have forgotten that she had shown it earlier to.Sudhakar. As she lifted her hand, a few flies on nher finges flew off.
Sudhakar examined her hand and looked at Venkat.
By then, Venkat had circled the old woman twice. He wondered how to make the old woman sit on the towel, with the minimum inconvenience to her.
"Then why are you sitting here?" Sudhakar asked.
"I am tired. My body is wet due to the rainwater. My eye-sight is not clear any more. People walk on the bridge from all directions."
"Where do you want to go?"
"To the road out side. I will sit below the fig tree."
Sudhakar understood what her destination was. He held her by the shoulders and simultaneously Venkat lifted her from under the knees. The old woman cried feebly, but within seconds,she was lodged on nthe towel. Her personal property--the sack, the glass and the tin-were also kept on the towel.
The old woman turned in confusion and asked, "Babuji, what are you doing with me?"