I was around 6 or seven years old (wild guess) then, and was just getting into a car with my mother on ...some road (Har, har, some memory mine is, eh?). There was this beggar woman who was obviously standing on the platform for money. But she was a beggar woman with a small difference -- she seemed quite upbeat. Even as my mother hurriedly pulled some change out of her handbag to give her, the woman looked at me. To me then, she looked to be around 50 or so -- give or take how many ever years (!).
As a child you are naturally curious, inquisitive and don't hesitate to stare even when you know people are watching you stare. So I stared at her first and then at what was in her hand. It was a stainless steel plate and it had some amazingly comforting, home made-looking food on it. It was obvious that that day was the lady's lucky day. The food comprised paruppu saadham and sambar (rice and gravy). I stared at the food and then at her. She smiled at me, happy. She was probably seconds away from beginning her tasty-looking meal. I smiled widely back, happy too.
I don't know how that food got onto her plate, but I was happy for her. Innocently happy, because I was a just a child then, who did not know more, or better.
I am not sure why this memory stuck in my brain (am sure my being a foodie is irrelevant here for once!), but I recall this exchange of smiles clearly and even remember she was wearing a sari with a shawl like thing draped over it, perhaps because of tears here and there?:(
I guess it was a comfort that she got comfort food on her plate at least that day.