I wrote this story in response to a prompt by an amazing writer called Vinay.
He asked me to weave a story around the following sentence,
“The beggar sat opposite the temple, and watched, as she came to offer her prayers. “
So, here we are. 🤗 Thanks V.
Every evening, she climbed the one hundred and sixty steps, with a bunch of wild flowers in her hand. The beggar sat opposite the temple, and watched, as she came to offer her prayers.
She came all alone, driven in a big white car. The chauffeur waited for her near the gate. Every single day, rain or shine, she made it up the steps, muttering under her breath. After she said her prayers, she would sit next to the big Nandi statue, and talk to it. Did it talk back, he wondered?
In all these months, she had never so much as looked at him. People usually dropped a coin in his bowl. She never did.
One day, she took him by surprise. She came running up the steps, almost incandescent with joy, her usual bunch of flowers in one hand, and a box of sweets in the other. Instead of going into the temple, she came to him.
“Here,” she said, sitting down next to him, and handing him the box of sweets.
He was taken aback.
“Shouldn’t you offer these to God first?”
“I don’t think he likes sweets,” was the calm reply.
“Have you ever tried giving him sweets? I have, and the priest returned my box, with all the sweets intact. I think he prefers flowers. These are for him,” she says, waving the flowers in his face.
“Why do you always get these wild flowers, and never a garland?”
“I don’t like garlands,” she says, with a toss of her head.
“What are the sweets for? Is it your birthday?”
She beams at him, and he feels like the sun just came out.
“The best thing in the world happened last night. My mother gave me a baby brother. I’ve been praying every day, because she was ill for a very long time. But, they are both fine, now, and I have the sweetest brother in the world.”
She smiles again, and the beggar sees the entire universe in a little girl’s smile.