At the background of the busy town of Dindigul, Tamil Nadu, Nandi Mali, watches the busy schedule of the town from her tent under the shadowy flyover bridge, near the railway station, which was her home ever since she was thrown out to the street after she has been attacked by leprosy.
Hailing from a remote village in Muthayampati, she has no children of her own and left by her husband. She has always struggled for food and sound sleep at night, living with her far relatives before leprosy came to her at the age of thirty three.
Now she is fifty six but she looks as if a grandma of around seventy, may be this adversity of life has counted and summed up into her aged to give her this looks.
With the flyover her roof and three side walls of torn black plastics, she stayed before her door begging. The dump covered area where sun light hardly crept inside, and dusty wind sweeping her, she looks around for someone kind enough to throw her a coin. Shaking her un-shaped limbs and with lips vibrating with name of Lord she spends her day below this bridge, sitting on the old torn sack, spread over the dusty ground and leaning against the mosses grown wall.
Her hair long and brown with dirt, eye almost sunken into skull and cheeks folded in wrinkles, with the torn clothes that guarded her from hot air of town that scorched her skin, Nandi Mali looks for the death to pick her up soon.
In a whispering note, she tells, she could have been well if she had ever been introduced to medication, and life would not have turned this way if she ever had her own children.
She rewind her pale memory, of how she worked in the field and looked after the cows, and with tears rolling down her wrinkled cheeks, she admits it as her fate, “May be, I have committed sins in my previous life, so I owe this punishment today”.
Like Nandi Malli, many have taken the shelter below this bridge, but what sets Malli different from the rest, is her fervent prayers, she accepts everything that the life owe to give her, and have no any word of curse on her relatives for throwing her to this street without a tinge of love and mercy in their heart.
She mutters” Life is a test for acceptance and patience, only the learned one chuckles with it and the fools cry, I know I won’t be like this in my next birth”
And with her hands joining together and raised above her head she prays, “if GOD ever answer my prayer, I would walk to Meenakshi temple in Madhurai and die there in the lap of Mother Meenakshi”