Sunday, October 30, 2011

A Little piece of Bread, Water, Bed...

It was one of those evenings, where the heat is unbearable and  the air so heavy you cannot breath.The traffic was moving at a languid relish as the sun moved towards the horizon and birds sang their last songs for the day. As the sun hit the point where dusk settles and night is just about to fall, breeze began to blow, moving the traffic a little faster. Clouds began to gather in tightly woven balls of cotton. Responding to the urgency of the rain, the traffic began to catch speed!

I on the other hand was walking on the pavement, in a dilemma... If I ran, I would still get wet and also out of breath. If I walked, I would get wet longer and then probably catch a cold. The rain, however, had no time for people in double minds and the heavens opened to let down a heavy downpour, cooling the baked roads and spreading the sweet, irresistible and unmatched smell of wet earth. In a hurried movement I went an stood under a huge banyan tree at the side of the road.

Under the banyan tree, was a bench, already occupied. An old man in tattered clothes, was pulling a grey sheet of sack material over his head. His face was dark and lined. He was balding, with a few white hair, but a fine goatee of white hair circled his parched, blackened lips. In the entire dreary appearance, his eyes lit with little twinkling stars. The ups and downs of life had not killed that bit of fire you find in every human being as a child.

From inside a bag that held on by few seams, he pulled out a slightly moist cigarette or 'beedi'. Just as he lit it, he looked towards me and said, "Would you like one?"

I was startled out of my wits! A man, possibly a beggar, a vagabond, a vagrant was asking me if I, a girl in mid-twenties, from a decent, educated background would like a smoke from his moist, dirty hand-touched cigarette! I turned my head in the other direction. I should have run!

He inhaled a puff, and gave a raspy cough. "Aihh the lady is angry! Horrified! Petrified! A little scared, but mostly enraged... Ahh the farce the rich pull on, I am sure she ain't herself so well off, as she show on her face and that upturned nose..."

I whirled around, stared,hoping, what might be a cold and steely stare and returned to looking in the other direction.

He got up and stood two feet away from me. "I meant to be courteous, you can say no. You see young one, in life you need nothing more, but a human, to share! A little piece of bread, a sip of water, a bed, a triumph. For all these lose meaning if there is none to share. Now I hated people when I was your age, and so I ran away and have been on my own. Why I ran, is a story, I would have liked to share. But little child, I won't be here that long and all I could share, one last time, with a person other than me, was a cigarette. Remember you, that all you need in life is a human, to share ... A little piece of  bread, water, bed...."

His voice trailed, and I turned back. The man had collapsed, his chest did not move, his breathing had stopped!

As I walked away, the stars were twinkling, quite similar to the twinkle I had seen in the old man's eyes. I had to tell the tale, I had to share... His eyes in the heaven urged me to share - this common knowledge - across the lines that divide 'us' and 'them'!


  1. An honest, vivid and a captivating story with a strong message in it! :)

  2. A great tale dear....Very very well written..You can actually make people experience the feelings...

  3. amazing...the narration is just perfect,emotional angle makes one read the story till end.

  4. Lucid.... Yet thoughtful to its superlative best.... Somehow I find an underlying irony or a contradiction in the thought which is doesn't leave you with much choice but to read the simple complications that are realized at an undesirable point in time, n so so so well pointed out....

  5. penned down beautifully....perfect combination of emotions and feelings...gud work.