The Most Beautiful Flower Seller I Have Ever Seen

Before reading the post, you might want to know these:
Paati – Grandmother in Tamil
Thatha – Grandfather in Tamil
Papa – In Tamil Nadu, people call younger ones Papa in an endearing way. It means Baby.
Muzham – A unit of measurement. Flowers are sold in muzhams. 1 muzham=the length between the fist and elbow. 
A few months back, I went to Palarivattom junction nearby to buy a flower garland. There were many flower sellers there and so I was on the lookout for the freshest flowers when I saw an old lady on the footpath.
She was very old. Too old not just for selling flowers, but for doing any work. I decided that I would buy it from her. Knowing that she was a Tamilian, I asked her in my broken Tamil.
“Hi Paati, how much does it cost?”
“Do you want it for Saami (God’s) photo?”
“Yes Paati.”
“Then you can take this papa. How much do you want?”
“How much does one muzham cost?”
“20 Rs.”
“Alright Paati, give me for 100 Rs.”
As she was measuring it with her fragile hands, I fished my purse for the money.
Paati! Paati! Wait! Take only 4 muzhams. I have only Rs. 80.”
“It is ok papa, take 5 muzham and give me the balance whenever you come.”
“No Paati. I can’t take that.”
“It is ok maa, take it. Give it to me some other time.”
“Will you be here daily?”
She put the garland in a cover and handed it to me, “No. I come only on Sundays.”
“Where are you from?”
“I am from Coimbatore”
“You travel all the way from Coimbatore?”
“Yes maa. I take the 5am train, get down at North station and come here. I sell the flowers and I return by the 10pm train. I reach there by 4 am, freshen up and then go about my day’s work.”
“Where is Thatha?”
Thatha is there. He is unwell. So I have to work.”
My heart went out to her. I did not want to ask her about her children. I didn’t want to learn that they were somewhere far and not taking care of them.
“Ok Paati. I’m leaving now. I’ll come back with the balance money next week. Will you be sitting at this very place?”
“Somewhere around here papa. Sometimes the other side, or opposite.”
“Ok Paati. Bye.”

My Flower Seller Paati
My Flower Seller Paati

I couldn’t put her away from my mind. I promised myself that I would visit her the next week. But I couldn’t. Later, I returned a couple of times. But couldn’t find her. On enquiring to the shops nearby, they asked me, “A very old couple? A Grandma and Grandpa. You asking about them?”
“No. It was just the Grandma.”
“We don’t know.”
Later, I thought that maybe they used to come together until Thatha fell ill. That pained me all the more. I was worried that I may not see her again. I felt guilty for not going the very next Sunday.
However, last Sunday, I happened to pass by Palarivattom and I saw her dozing off in the furious heat. I parked my two wheeler and went to her. I was relieved to see her, at the same time, I felt terrible to see her struggle so much.
Paati! Do you remember me?”
“Of course I remember you! How can I not remember? Do you want flowers?”
“Yes Paati! Give me for 100 Rs. Also, if you remember, I owe you a 20 Rs. How come I didn’t see you for a while?”
“I was here Papa. I don’t know why you didn’t find me.”
As we were speaking, I told her,
Paati! I have a Paati just like you at home.”
“That explains your love. You might remember your Paati when you see me.” she reasoned.
I smiled.
Suddenly, a passerby stopped and, “How much does this cost?”
“Rs. 30”, the lady walked away without saying anything.
“Maa! Maa! Come back Maa. Listen to me. Come back Maa. Maaa! Maa”, she was literally begging and screaming out for her. But the lady kept walking away and I wondered how many times I must have done this to street vendors.
We spoke for some more time and then I don’t know what led to the topic but,
“Two of my sons passed away Papa. It has just been a year since one son died. They were nice boys. Nice people, just like you. But they had to leave me.”
I had nothing to say. It explained everything. Or so I thought and I had to distract her. So,
Paati! How is Thatha?”
Thatha passed away 4 months back Maa.”
I couldn’t believe it. I couldn’t bear it. That explained why she was missing.
“I had lots of expenses during that time. I had to borrow some money. Now my debt is close to 50000Rs and I’m working so that I can repay little by little. I also come on Thursdays to Thevara. There is a beautiful Sai Baba temple there. You have to come there papa. It is so beautiful.”
“Is it? I didn’t know. I will definitely come Paati. Can I have your number Paati?”
“I don’t have a phone maa. Can you do me a favour? if you have an old phone, can you give it to me?”
I told her that I would try arranging a phone for her.
“My blessings are with you Maa. There are so many lovely kids like you. The other day I went to a huge hospital to get my eyes tested. I didn’t have any money Maa and there were 2 girls. Lovely girls just like you. Very caring. They said it is alright, I don’t have to pay. They gave me the chit and asked me to go to the bigger hospital to get my glasses. But I went there and they told me it was expensive. I did not buy them.”
I asked her if she had the prescription and details. She had them at home. I soon said goodbye and,
Papa, don’t forget the phone. ”
“No Paati, I wont.”
“Ok maa my blessings are with you.”
I was returning from meeting a friend that day when I saw her sitting at that very place and dozing. The sun was at its peak. My insides were screaming out of desperation. I bought her a lime juice and she was happy. Just before leaving, I asked if I could get a snap with her and she agreed.
That explains the snap with her.

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  1. Santosh Namby

    Really touching post. There are so many old people like this with no one to take care of them….it is really sad…
    Keep up the good work buddy… Hugs…

    1. Ranju

      Thanks Santosh 🙂 This is the little I can do right now. If one person feels happy because of me, that is so much of happiness 🙂

  2. theonlysup

    U have a golden heart ranju. U showed so much empathy and kindness..

    1. Ranju

      Thank you Supreet. But the sad part is there is much more I could do. And I don’t know what they are. 🙁

      1. theonlysup

        As u grow , u will realize more. And keep doing good work 🙂

  3. parulthakur24

    Now that is what we call random acts of kindness and you did an awesome thing by helping her! Keep it up!! *bows* and *hugs*

    1. Ranju

      Thanks Parul. But I still haven’t done anything for her. :/

  4. Ravish Mani

    Oh Dear! You made me cry……..

    1. Ranju

      It wasn’t me. It was that Paati who made us all cry. 🙁

  5. rationalraj2000Rajeev Moothedath

    You have a warm kind heart Rangelz.Your story brought tears to the eyes.More often we just tend to not notice the lives of such patis..

    1. Ranju

      Thank you Rajeev. I agree. I might have come across people like her before. But this was the time I really saw and decided to help. We are mostly lost in our own thoughts and our own lives.

  6. Samjoth

    Beautiful you are,
    for your heart bleeds
    in the pain of others..!!
    Stay blessed my friend !!

    1. Ranju

      Thanks Samjoth. I believe anyone would have felt bad seeing her if they hadn’t chosen to ignore her.

      1. Samjoth

        “if they hadn’t chosen to ignore her” – there comes the difference..!!

          1. Samjoth

            🙂 Stay good,
            stay bright ..!!

  7. Help Me Dear Readers And Fellow Bloggers :) | A Few Handpicked Things in Life

    […] is regarding the earlier post I wrote about the Flower selling Paati. For those who did not have time to read the entire post, here is the […]

  8. Roshan Clicks

    Reblogged this on Roshan click's and commented:
    Hello fellow bloggers
    Rajni here is trying to help flower selling grandmother (that’s what Rajni calls her) to pay the debt.
    Rajni is a kind soul and people like her make this world wonderful. She is going out of her way to be able to help this little old lady so that this old lady will have smile in her face without any worry.
    Few fellow bloggers and Rajni are chipping in some money from their salary and are trying their best to be able to help this lady.
    In this regards, I would like to call attention of all those kind soul connected to me via blog space to support the case by donating some small amount.
    Amount doesn’t matters.. what matters is how much you care to make difference in people’s life?? Please come forward to join hands in helping another human being. Every small contribution means a lot.
    I sincerely hope you folks will come forward to support us. I look forward to read your email with support. You can reach me at
    P.S : Please please please support us. And please re-blog this post.
    With Love

  9. iku2e

    very interesting and god bless you! I hope still the humanity prevails on the earth!

    1. Ranju

      Normal people like us bring in humanity 🙂

  10. moondustwriter

    Your genuine kindness and love is what this woman needs more than anything. She is alone in a world where once there were so many to love and be needed by. The hard work actually keeps her going. You are like a fragrant flower to her.

    1. moondustwriter

      I would put a piece of that above comment at the end of your blog so people see that they can do something and who to contact.

      1. Ranju

        Sorry, which comment are you referring to? 🙂

    2. Ranju

      I agree to that. Even I felt that she somehow likes doing the work. Alongwith the love, if I could do her some favour, that would be a solace to her. 🙂

  11. Need all of you | Need your help | Need your support | Roshan click's

    […] days back, I had re-blogged the story “The Most Beautiful Flower Seller I Have Ever Seen” written by a kind hearted fellow blogger Ranju (please click here to read the story). She is trying […]

  12. Ada Wiam

    Beautiful post. Salute to your kindness. Keep doing good things, and the paatti is really beautiful…

    1. Rangelz

      Thank you Ada. 🙂 Yes she is.

  13. Humanity Helps Chennai | A Few Handpicked Things in Life

    […] cannot prove my intentions to you. But earlier, I did get some contributions to help this flower seller lady and I gave her the entire amount. I can only give you my word for […]

  14. The Year in a Capsule | A Few Handpicked Things in Life

    […] I came across the Flower Granny and with the help of some lovely friends in the Blogosphere, gave her some money to pay off some of her debts. You can read about it here. […]

  15. Aneesh Sreekumar

    Pakshe coimbatoril ninnum palarivattathu vannu poo vikkan kaaranam enthano? I mean othiri dooreyano sthalangal ¿ Ithupoley otthiri cheriya entrepreneurs chennaiyil undu! Fascinating lives !

    1. Ranjini

      She says she could sell flowers at better rates here. Aa will power sammatikkanam!

      1. Aneesh Sreekumar

        Hmmm…….Okay….. Sammathikkanam!

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