Mumbai: After finding herself at the receiving end of Paris Hilton's stroke of generosity last Sunday, this beggar woman, tragically, has not even a penny to show for it.
Ishika's windfall moment came on Sunday evening, when the visiting heiress spotted her, and magnanimously handed over a $100 bill to her -- a bill that could have brought the poor woman many an elusive joy. When her relatives began assaulting her to rob her of her gift, Ishika's brother-in-law tore the note to shreds. And thus was Ishika's fairy tale cut short by the sordid, grinding realities of existence.
After receiving the bill that had the potential to afford her some elusive luxuries, Ishika handed over the note to her brother-in-law, requesting him to get it exchanged for the corresponding value of Indian currency (approx Rs 5,000) the following day. Back at the shanty near Goregaon railway station, where she lives with her extended family, her relatives began to bicker among each other for the note. Some even assaulted her brother-in-law to wangle the note forcefully from him.
Frustrated with the squabbles, Ishika's irate brother-in-law tore it to shreds.
Ishika said, "On Sunday evening, we were begging as usual outside a mall in Andheri. Suddenly I saw a foreigner, and was about to approach her for money. But she called me herself, and handed over the note. At first, I didn't know what to do, as the note looked strange. I asked several people on the road if they could give me change in return for it. That's when I came to know that the note was called a dollar. I gave the note to my brother-in-law and asked him to get it exchanged for the correct notes on Monday, for our use. But as soon as we returned home, all our relatives began demanding that we share the money with them, even though I told them it was a gift. Some of our relatives started beating us up, trying to grab the note.
Seeing that the note was destroying the peace of the household, my brother-in-law got really angry and tore it up into pieces."
Ishika's brother-in-law said, "I was holding the bill in my hand, and was full of rage when I saw that all the members of our community were assaulting us, so they could have the note. My sister-in-law did not want to share it with everyone, as the foreigner had gifted it to her of her own accord. Seeing the confusion and unhappiness caused by the money, I tore it up. I regret my action, now that I know what the value of that note was."