Society Magazine


Posted on the 22 January 2014 by Yamini
I was rushing to work slightly late in the morning, as usual I was late. Pacing down the street with a heavy laptop on the back and a mobile in the hand, just the usual routine. Walk down fast while quickly picking up the calls for the morning all this in the traffic of the city, with vehicles of all kinds running on the roads, with each one trying to leave the other behind, some trying to break the signals, some wanting to break the signal but not doing fearing being caught; or the fear of being late.With the pedestrians trying to navigate in the sea of confusion and jumping from one stone to the other on the non existent foot path, trying to escape an occasional motor cyclist who decides the road is not enough and takes to the non existent foot path. Just the regular chaos. Busy mornings, when it seems as if the entire world was collectively late or that the entire world was forcibly dragging itself to work. As I dragged myself hopping from one stone to another moving like a remote car trying not to hit other people coming in the opposite direction. As I moved forward I saw the old man who I see quite often on the foot path, the gray haired man with an umbrella and no teeth, the frail looking man who sometimes asks for money. Almost as an involuntary action I looked for a ten rupee note in the bag which functions like Harry Potter's room of requirements, all this while speaking to someone on the phone tucked between my neck and chin while I continued to grope for a ten rupee note. Aah, finally I found it and hand it over to the old man and continued to pace down. I almost crossed as I noticed the old man wanted to speak something. I shut the phone out and tried to listen, he was speaking some language I barely understood. I tried to listen as he explained something,
" I don't understand....", I said in broken language he was speaking. Those were the only words I could speak. He tried to explain again, this time I could understand better. "I don't usually beg but some times for food..... I live some where here..... My possessions have been taken away....." this is what he seemed to say, or this is what I imagined. The only words I understood was that he wanted to clarify he didn't ask for money out of choice. The fact that he noticed me and made an attempt to explain, said a lot. It spoke of his helplessness, of how life had cheated him, it was not just his story but of millions of others bearing the curse of old age, killing their self respect, killing their spirit to live everyday, or should I say sail through each day. Looking into those eyes, I felt an inexplicable pain. I felt the futility of my existence, I felt how helpless I was, probably much more helpless than him. I felt guilty. I wanted to talk, I wanted to listen, I wanted to connect at a human level but I couldn't. For the first time I regretted not knowing a language. The only thing I could do was talk through my eyes and touch. For a fleeting moment I did that, but then I ran away like a coward to join the rat race again, promising myself to return equipped with some one who could communicate better,  feeling more guilty than ever. I could have stayed, I'm sure I would have found a way to communicate. It makes me wonder If I ran away from the human warmth? Or was I  desperate to join the race Or was I too cold to react. I definitely walked away assuring him I would meet him another day, but some where some pain lingered. 

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