A couple of days after the incident I had gone to the hospital to see my father, with just a tiny bit of remorse lingering in the back of my mind for not having given any money to this lady. At the hospital I saw that several other family members had also come to visit my father, including my sister-in-law. Imagine my surprise when I heard my sister-in-law start talking about a lady asking for money outside the hospital! “Kamal hai” I thought to myself, wondering if it might be the same person we had met. I was soon able to ascertain that this was indeed the same woman who had accosted us, but unlike our encounter, she did manage to get money this time. My sister-in-law facing the same request for £12 ended up giving £20 because she had no change.
There’s no doubt now that this lady was operating a scam, possibly netting a handsome amount on a good day. As to why she was doing this - my guess is that it may be connected with the need to buy drugs. Chalo, Rab bhali karey. 2/2/06