Lalita had completed her post graduation in commerce six months ago from Allahabad University and since then had been searching a suitable job. After applying for some job ads appearing in newspapers and different websites, she was able to get an interview call from a medium sized commercial firm in New Delhi. She liked the prospective job because it matched her qualifications and, moreover, she wanted to work in Delhi. She was expectantly waiting for the interview date. As soon as she received intimation of the interview date, she immediately planned her visit to attend it. She fared very well in interview and was hopeful of being offered the job. She went back to Allahabad full of many hopes for future.
After a gap of a fortnight, she received a letter of appointment by courier from the office of MD of the same firm she had an interview with. Her happiness knew no bounds and she ran to tell her mom, dad, brother and her friends without wasting time. She was appointed as an accountant in the head office of the firm at Connaught Place – an upscale commercial centre.
On reaching Delhi, Lalita checked into a hotel near Connaught Place and joined her firm next day. Meanwhile, she kept searching for an accommodation in a suitable women’s hostel after getting information inputs from her new colleagues. With some good luck, she got a nice room in a suitable hostel within a week at a distance of half-an-hour walk and moved in soon.
Most of time, Lalita preferred to walk to her office except when she could be late, she took a cab. Being an extrovert, she could easily become friendly with some of her colleagues at office and a few hostel mates.
One day while walking, she saw an old destitute women sitting in a corner on the pavement near her office. Her old age and miserable condition moved Latita, who went near her to ask if she wanted anything. She told her she was hungry and begged for some food. Lalita gave her tiffin she had brought from the hostel mess for lunch and then left. She made sure that she would bring two tiffins daily and gave one to the poor woman.
One day Lalita was early and so she started talking with her. The women told that she once belonged to a well-off family but, in a cruel twist of fate, her whole family died in a road accident including her husband. She was left alone to tend for herself. She was duped of whatever was left of her assets by relatives and some people. At last, she happened to come and live here.
Lalita was deeply moved by the story of her life. She promised to herself that she would try to look after the women. And she started addressing her Tai from then onwards. She always ensured that she brought her food every day. Once she visited local flea market nearby and bought some clothes for Tai. When she gave her new clothes, Tai’s happiness knew no bounds. Then Lalita felt a deep emotional bond with her and had real contentment out of making someone happy. This routine kept on going regularly.
One day, while she was searching a newspaper for something in her office, she came across an ad that a construction company was going to construct small houses for poor people at pretty cheap rates. After going through details, she phoned the office of the company to find out further about it. She decided to visit them shortly to book a house for Tai. Two days later, she took permission from her boss to leave early and visited the office of the company to finalize the matter after going through its nitty-gritty. After getting the necessary papers of booking done, she left and decided that she would give Tai good news tomorrow morning while on her way to office.
Next day while Lalita was walking down to office, from a distance she saw Tai limping with the help of her stick to cross to other side of road. She saw a speeding car on the road approaching her. She shouted loudly to caution her but before Tai could hear, the car ran over crushing her badly. Lalita ran fast to Tai and saw her convulsing in the throes of her impending death. There was blood splattered all around her. Before she could do anything, Tai breathed her last. Lalita broke down falling on her knees to the ground. She wept loudly calling her name again and again.
She was somehow able to come to herself, when people around consoled her. On recovering her self-control, with the help of her friends she could finish cremation rites of Tai with a heavy heart.
Lalita went on leave for some days from her office and left for home as she was greatly distressed. She came back to office after she could overcome her anguish over Tai’s death.
Whenever she passed the place where her Tai used to sit, her eyes brimmed with tears as she was reminded of her. She felt that Tai’s death had created a vacuum in her life. She never felt so distressed and forlorn in life!