The unrelenting Mumbai rains were deluging the entire city forcing a majority of people to revisit their plans of a night out. Being Sunday, a lot of people were used to visiting the mall and spending the evening with their loved ones watching movies and shopping.
Their plans though looked like on the verge of cancellation.
I though was standing inside the mall, a hot takeaway coffee cup warming my hands in the chilly AC. I was sipping the coffee lazily while standing under the escalators waiting for a friend who had gone to exchange two of his trousers because of fitting issues.
The heavy rains failed to curb the enthusiasm of people as the entrance to the mall was still crowded, leading to a small queue waiting to get inside. As the entry was allowed only after the security check, the place was teeming with people amidst the beeping sounds of the security scanner.
One person though was working tirelessly wiping the floor clean immediately after people would soil it with their dirty footwear. Rains compounded her work as the floor warranted frequent cleaning because of the water stained shoes, notoriously making ugly spots everywhere on the deck.
Ensuring it always remains clean and dry was her responsibility and she was executing it with absolute perfection.
Although, people could immediately feel the chill as they passed the body scanner inside the mall, the small drops of sweat spread across her face reflected the kind of hard work she was engaged in and the focus with which she was performing her task.
A group of youngsters who appeared as if they played in mud before deciding to visit the mall, smeared the entire floor with some black smudge even as the rubbing of shoes repeatedly on the door mat made little effect on the dirt stuck on the shoe soles.
I was waiting to watch her expressions change to annoyance, anger or exasperation on seeing this.
Surprisingly, they remained unchanged as she still dutifully continued cleaning tirelessly until the floor was back to its old pristine self.
I could not believe what I saw.
A family of four awaited her now.
Two daughters and their parents. The elder one must have been 12 or 13 but acting as if she is now an adult trying to create a separate identity for herself by walking slightly ahead from the rest of the family.
Her mother though, continued to get close concerned she might be left alone.
The little one around 5 was munching on a chocolate while holding one more in her other hand. She was walking close to her father and would get annoyed if he would move even a centimeter away, imploring him to walk beside her.
He dutifully followed as they reached the security check.
The entire area after the security was being kept clean by the lady and as these four people began moving towards it, she got ready for yet another round of mopping.
As the family completed the security check, they began strolling inside the mall.
There was something stuck on the footwear of the little girl though as every step of hers led to a footmark on the floor.
The lady saw it and got ready to clean it again.
However, the father noticed what was happening and took her back to wipe her shoes again on the doormat. The lady looked at them and nodded her head to imply, its fine as she resumed cleaning the floor again.
The little girl looked at her and gave her a nervous apologetic smile for the mess she created, she however delighted with her smile, gestured to not worry about it and got busy with her job.
She must have gone just a few metres when the girl suddenly returned and stood in front of the lady. Her father had to run to keep up with her.
She stretched her little hands in front of the lady offering her the chocolate she was keeping in her other hand. The lady was stunned not knowing what to do, the father standing behind the girl prodded her to take it.
Her eyes welled up as she took that chocolate in her hands from a smiling angel, also speaking out a soft ‘sorry’ as she offered her own treat to her.
The lady still not knowing how to respond, just nodded her head to imply she did nothing wrong.
The girl then abruptly wrapped around her leg before leaving to be with her father again, who was pleased with what her daughter did and gesturing an apology again, began walking towards her wife and other child.
The lady stood at that same place; her eyes still fixated on the chocolate and the sweet little one now walking away from her.
The little girl who had walked a few metres now, turned back to see the lady once more, an innocent smile sitting perfectly on her face forcing the lady to smile back.
I have earned my pay for today she thought, while looking at the chocolate, as she resumed her work.