A few days ago, I found her squatting in the middle of the street as it rained, her hand out to passersby, cars swirling and swerving around her, splashing her. When I stopped and asked her to move off the road, just to be safe, she screamed at me to leave her alone. A young woman came up and suggested the same, got the same reaction. Followed by plaintive pleading for some food. The young woman got her some, and a bottle of water, but said to her, "Aunty, if you want this food you must move to the side of the road. It's not safe for you otherwise."
On her haunches, the lady shuffles and slides a bit closer to the side, then reaches her hands out silently for the food. The nearby stall-owners and the taxi-drivers who wait for custom -- always sympathetic to her, regularly bringing her tea and food -- tell me that as of a few days ago she doesn't seem able to walk any more. She used to walk to some relative's home, not far away, each day. Now she cannot.
I am frustrated and depressed by how little I can do about this. I know that over the last two years, several people in the neighbourhood have explored all kinds of options; for various reasons, none have worked. What's the answer? Is there one?
Update: Some phone calls and a few days on, the police took the lady to a destitute women's home in Byculla late on Tuesday evening (July 31).