Epiphany*

My seven-year-old daughter and I were travelling in a taxi in Bombay. The heat felt like it was melting us to the bone and the traffic was pretty much stationary. The windows were rolled down all the way and my daughter was sitting on my lap fanning herself with a fan she had made from a scrap piece of paper.

A man with a basket of oranges knocked on the frame of our door, startling us both resulting in my daughter dropping her fan. Neither of us bothered to pick it up. The man begged us to make a purchase, picking oranges out of the basket to show us the brightness of each, and their potent citrus smell.  We both could use some refreshment. So, I reached into my handbag to pay the man for two oranges. Coincidently, as we were receiving our oranges, a beggar child, no older than thirteen years old was holding a baby on her hip: “please help,” she wept.

The man with the oranges went after having made his sale, yet the beggar child and the baby were still staring at us. The young girl’s eyes were tearing up, her lip quivering. The baby she held onto didn’t just look like he was asleep. I looked down at my own daughter, and we both shared a knowing look. She reached over to the edge of the window and stretched her little arms out, holding the two oranges for the child and the baby. The child took it gracefully, her eyes lighting up and her lips forming a smile, an expression that looked unfamiliar to her face. We exchanged smiles and she went away holding tight onto the fruit.

Just then the traffic cleared, and our cab moved on.