“Wait! Stop! Hello lady! “. I suddenly heard a child-like voice asking me to stop. I turned around and saw a tiny old lady running towards me as fast as she could. A wavy silver hair, a long pink frock with a silver cross around her neck, a beak-like nose and a wide smile, this is what I noticed in the few minutes she took to reach me. I gave her a smile in return. I was out with my camera in a tiny by-lane of Panjim.
She was short of breath by all the running. She asked me in a gasping voice: “Why do you do photography?” I thought: “here comes the usual question I face when people see me with my camera!” I politely responded with my usual answer: “because I love it, and I am not a professional photographer but just doing it as a hobby”.
I always know the question that will follow the first one, so I hurriedly answered both. “Oh! Then it is OK! I saw you photographing my house. Why did you do it?” She asked. “Oh, it seems I am in trouble! “ I thought. I politely and smilingly explained her that I liked the looks of her window and the out of season Christmas decoration I could see there. “So did you see the cat?” She asked me. I replied in the negative as I had not seen any. She then said: “You must photograph the cat at the window. Many foreigners stop to photograph that. “I also felt that would be an interesting shot to capture. I told her that, on my return journey, I would definitely stop and capture her cat at the window. The thought of a good shot excited me. I walked away saying goodbye to her. After a few steps, I turned back and saw her looking at me with her wide smile. She gave me a big wave. I waved back and walked on.
After an hour or so, I re-entered the lane where I had met her. I looked around, searching for her, expecting her to jump in front of me reminding me of my promise to shoot her cat. I neared her house, got my camera ready for the shot. I then saw a lovely young girl sitting at the window reading a book. I decided to ask her about the cat: “Hello! Where is your cat?” She lifted her eyes reluctantly from her book and asked me: “Which cat?” I was surprised by her question but still tried: “The one which sits here and is frequently photographed.”
She got up, looked at me strangely with a hint of fear in the eyes. She asked me in a trembling voice: “Did you meet the lady with the silver hair, a pink frock and a cross around the neck?” Before I could even reply, she quietly closed the window.