Moushumi stopped on her way to the ‘Brown Sisters Convention’ to grab a cup of coffee. It started raining while she was inside, and since she couldn’t afford to miss the speeches, she picked up an abandoned umbrella from under the table.
The first speaker at the convention was Siya, a teenager from India. She talked about the rights of women in India and how they are ill-treated in the 21st century. The talk gets over late in the evening and Moushumi, as she was impressed by Siya, invites her for a dinner at her place. With initial hesitations, Siya agrees to spend the evening with Moushumi.
Over courses of high-calorie, greasy Indian food, they talk about their lives and primarily their childhoods. Moushumi lost her father (intestate) when she was 7. She was the only child. Despite liberal Bengali inheritance customs, her uncles took all the property and turned her mother out along with the little girl. Since there was no family left in India, her mother came to New Jersey to live with a cousin. However, the warmth in the family was long gone and they were kicked out in a week.
Life wasn’t easy for them. Moushumi went to school in the day and waited tables at a restaurant in the evenings. Her mother worked for two shifts there.
Moushumi turned to be a really bright student and got a scholarship to law school. Today she is an attorney-at-law in DC. This activist and philanthropist focuses on women and child rights.
The meeting draws to a close and as Siya is leaving, she sees the umbrella she lost last evening in a coffee shop, lying in the corner. She doesn’t mention it, for Moushumi had lost her umbrella when she was 7.