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When the Prime Minister was in town

She walked into the alley, behind the tall buildings, engaged in a scalp abuse with
her long brutal coaly nails. She stank of a mixture of fish and ort, perhaps her
spending the night near the fish market had attached the odour whilst she left. After
the slight drizzle in the morning, she is now scattering the pungent smell.
Her clothes were tattered, yet rugged to ward off the cold winds that blew early in
the morning. Her hair resembled an abandoned nest, which only received water
when the clouds burst open to sprinkle. She hadn’t bathed in a long, long time. Her
scar from the last night’s fight was prevalent throughout the forehead. The bruise
had swollen and taken an odd shape. She caressed the wound every now and then
just to feel the pain and twitching at the same moment. She hadn’t eaten for the
past twenty four hours and food was her top priority.
On most days she would have begged and obtained the food from that money, but
today the Prime Minister was in the city and all the beggars were warned not to
wander on to the streets. This had been the second most unsuccessful day after she
turned a beggar. The worst time was when she couldn’t find food for about forty
hours and that was nearly two years ago.
Even at this low moment of life she splashed the water from every puddle she
came across. Sometimes she watched her face in the reflection before troubling the
waters. She knew the fact that a good hot water bath would not only nourish her
soul but also give her the ounce of inspiration, for future begging of course.
Once the people who beg are given the opportunity, they themselves don’t want to
do it most often than not. Realistically, it involves minimal of efforts. People in
general are considerate to offer change money. There is no cost on maintenance; in
fact you are not supposed to be maintained. Once people have done it for a long
time, it tends to be a symbiotic relationship. More often than not, they can’t live
without it.
She wasn’t born this way; she lost her mother at birth and lost her father in a tragic
train accident. No relatives were ready to take her in, and rest has been history.
The alley had a murky appearance, with algae covering little of the walls. The
early morning showers didn’t help the cause either. All houses had dumpsters
installed outside. She thought in her own sense of happiness that there could be
something to satisfy her twenty four hour lonely stomach. She didn’t jump on the
last puddle between her and the dumpster, but she created a little whirlpool with
her thin long fingers. It left ripples when she left.
She opened the first dumpster, cautious about the onlookers. The last thing she
required was to have a tiff with another human with a superior physical built. After
her careful inspection, she was ready for the search. The lid was slightly heavier
that she had expected. After a robust push, she took a peek inside. But, much to her
surprise, there wasn’t anything there for her. She had thought of a half-eaten apple,
which was substantial to suffice her hunger, at least till the night.
Dejected like a child denied of a cookie which they crave, she moved on for further
inspection to the next dumpster. She ambled towards ‘dumpster number two’, and
the procedure was similar. She required the same amount of effort to remove the
lid. But, again there was nothing. It seemed as if other hungry people had
ransacked the area before she arrived. Losing an ounce of faith each time she
searched the dumpster. The third time when she lifted the lid, there was something
for her reckoning. Third time lucky as they say, she found steamed rice from last
night, with quantity approximately equal to two tablespoon.
After the discovery of her newly found food, she took another look if any fellow
humans were there for competition. On sighting no one, she hurriedly grabbed a
fistful of rice and carefully placed it on a newspaper cutting she carried. The
newspaper was relatively old, dated a month back. It took her four round of
exercise to transfer the food from the dumpster to the paper plate.
Hardly had she gobbled three iteration of her much awaited food, there walked into
the alley- a vagrant. Almost as twice as large as she was and with scathe filled
eyes, he wobbled closer to her. Still fresh from her last night’s encounter, she
pigheadedly turned away. Not too much, so as to keep him in the line of sight. She
took another handful of rice and munched greedily.
She could hear the shivering, and she grew in discomfort. The swathe on her
forehead was now more prominent; she moved her eyes to and fro. To feel more
secure she turned away from him and showed her back. He came closer with every
step. Sensing the uneasy situation she packed her food in the old paper and
prepared to leave, as if it wasn’t the intrusion of the alien figure she had just
witnessed that had prompted her to do so.
As she came closer to him, he turned his head to look over his shoulder. No one
was present. She came within breathing distance, when all of a sudden he slapped
his palm onto the wall. His body reeked of cruel intention, but she had nothing to
offer, except for a tablespoon of rice. Her heartbeat was faster than ever, while her
eyes grew larger every second.
“Take the rice, I have eaten enough. You can have the rest”, she said trying to
bribe herself out of this turmoil.
He didn’t move his lips and took another peak over his shoulder. Again nobody
was there. He watched her once again right into the eye. With a grunt, he pressed
his palm right across her mouth and pushed her towards the corner. She felt feeble
and fragile. She tried to yell, cry out for help, but his grip was too strong. He
pushed her to the corner of the alley and banged her head against the wall.
She fell with the sudden thud, while her head was spinning, unknown of the
situation. Yet, she gathered some composure and yelled with all her might. The
sounds echoed in the alley but there were no takers for her cry. She yelled again
and then again. There was no response. It seemed everyone had abandoned their
house and had taken to the streets to watch the new, charismatic Prime Minister.
He inched faster and closer with every yell of help she could generate. Within
striking distance, he grabbed her hair and looked her into the eyes. He placed his
index finger perpendicular to his lips and said “shh! Nobody can hear you.”
“Please let me go, please leave me alone”, she begged with hands clasped, tears
rolling down her eyes and horror on her face. She didn’t know what was coming or
why it was coming. All she wanted was, to get out of there. He slapped her twice,
once on each cheek and pressed her shoulders down for the horrendous act.
She shouted, hit him on his face as hard as she could, but his physical strength was
overwhelming. He hard-pressed her each time she conjured some strength. The
predator was waiting for the right time and finally she succumbed after a few
minutes. The frail body could not fight back, as she laid waiting for help, it was
within those moments when she thought of God, and closed her eyes to
unconsciousness.
She woke up in dizziness, refreshing her memories of what come to pass. All she
could recollect was a man standing tall, and throwing the rice at her face and
saying “You think I was hungry!” She tried to get back on her feet, but too much
blood was lost and the injuries were overpowering. She lifted her head to see
people watching from their windows. The Prime Minister must have gone she
thought and closed her eyes, never to wake up again. She was thirteen

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