It has to be the couple I saw while traveling through India.
They were looking tired, had torn clothes and were busy polishing the shoes of every customer who was shouting at them to get it done fast.
They were both in their seventies. But I could see that both of them looked odd, as if they didn’t belong to the particular job. My train was late for another couple of hours and I had ample time to watch this couple work.
I only had 600 rupees left in my wallet. Something told me that they wouldn’t accept money if I gave them freely. afterall, they were working not begging. So, I went to the nearest Chaiwala (Tea seller) and asked him to give them both a cup of tea and breakfast.
He looked at me and said “Sahib, Woh nahi lenge.” ( Sir, they won’t accept.)
I told him to give them nonetheless and to tell them it was from a well-wisher.
The Chaiwala did as I said and after ten minutes, convinced them to have breakfast.
The Chaiwala told me that they have been working there for past six months. And then, with a slight pain in his eyes, said this:
“ They were daily wage workers and have five children who are happily married and are doing well. They worked hard to raise them and put them through school. But, despite all that, none of them want to look after them.”
“Woh beghar hai.” (They are homeless.)
I remember reading something similar in an article couple of years ago, the words still echo in my heart.
30 years we toiled, to ensure that our kids don’t live in a shanty like we did. Turns out we failed; neither’s house is big enough to have us.
I haven’t seen anything more inhumane than this.
Picture is for representative purpose only