Thursday, August 7, 2008

This Side of Paradise


The phone booth seemed too distant for him, but all he could do was wish. Wish that he could approach it and make his presence felt to his dear ones. He felt isolated and abandoned. He was broken and crippled. Lonely and drained out. The day broke and the sun gradually grew older. He couldn't move an inch and felt paralysed, as he lay there, motionless. He could do nothing, except to hope that he would survive just one more day under the scorching sun. He was rich. He had a bumper harvest every year. His lands were massive. Full of weeds...

The Muslim lady, who sat beside him everyday, had just completed an hour-long offering to her Lord. She walked away with a satisfied look on her face, as if she had nothing more to ask for. Every morning, as this daily ritual was enacted, he wondered what pleasure she attained in doing that. But in the end, he wished that a blessing or two, which the Almighty showered on her, fell on him too.


The everyday hustle and bustle had made him go insane. He wished that that hour had never ended, and that he had the innocence around him forever, which was awfully lacking in his surroundings. Everyday, the slum children came there yelling, and played their favourite sport, like expert novices. The game meant a lot to them. Everytime the ball hit him, he was asked to move away in an abusive manner. All he could do was move few inches. But the words only made him weaker, more than his own efforts. He could notice no difference in the brats and him. In his perspective- both had a lot of time. But on the one hand, it was sprinting and on the other, it made the snails feel better.


He saw the youth being wasted in front of his eyes. When he took a look around, he saw the same story, but a different scene. Children carrying loads, drawing conventional machineries, and a few of them lying by the roadside in a situation very much akin to his. Skinny, listless, malnourished and dehydrated. The sooty smoke being continuously pumped into their lungs. All these were inherited through their parents, who, along with loneliness gave them freedom and themselves got lost in the big world. He wished he could share a word of sympathy with them and shed a tear or two, for them. But he was too dry to be able to do that. He couldn't cry.


He survived the days and lived the nights. Too many people a majority of them, out of innumerable, who passed by him, had no time for him. But a few of them, threw pennies at him on which he survived. What he yearned for was their blessings. "Stay away old man, what you got was enough.", was all that he fetched. He knew that they were going through their worse days, and were only trying to make themselves feel better. He realised that the people who dint threw at him an unkind penny, were at least not hypocrites. In all of them, he desperately seeked a quality that he had heard, all humans exhibited. But never found it in one. It was called "Humanity". It dawned on him that the word humanity held two meanings- one which existed only in holy books and the other, in the world in which he existed.


Every night, he used to gaze at innumerable stars up in the sky. They were his only companions. The moon took his spirits to a high and made him feel romantic. But soon he realised there was no roof over his head. The dim sky got dimmer as the monsoon clouds started hovering over his head. And the city lights made the picture hazier. Within a few days, it started pouring heavily and that place was no longer safe for him. He had survived many monsoons, many summers and many winters, but this time he was giving way. His eyes were searching for those stars that he loved to watch, but all he could see were dark clouds conquering them hundreds at a time. He was desperately trying to hold on, but in his heart of hearts, he knew that the end was nearing. He yelled out something, but there was no spare ear for him.


"I am feeling drowsy, but I don’t want to sleep.
Give me some shots of cocaine, let me live.
Let me see my children, then I shall leave!"

The phone booth remained elusive.

5 comments:

alexoholic said...

An itch surfaces from deep inside you.... and you reach out a hand in response... you need to, so that you may be at peace, and so, you conclusively answer to this basic requirement. Satisfaction ultimately, is delivered and you withdraw your hand, it is now free to be engaged for other purposes.

Most of our desires are quite alike to these commonplace itches; they ordinarily feed on a little attention and manipulation and demand no more than the same.

But it seems, there are two itches unlike most others,
They are often referred to as... Money and Love.

Both have a hitch...

For money draws the hand and the attention to the intolerable itch that it is, and satisfaction remains elusive for a virtual eternity, till it is out of your own doing, that you have destroyed your own flesh.

Love, is yet another curious sensation... indeed it comes from within, surfaces without... and everything you do apparently fails to allay, for this is an itch that will respond to only one hand and that hand isn’t your own, it is the hand of another... the hand of love.

These two conditions are dissimilar and can never coexist in a single entity..as i have learned...

This poor man itched for love.

psm said...

good hi funda thinking

Dr. Priteesh Chotai said...

Thank you very much PSM Sir!

Rock said...

Quite an itchy one...
Will create a lot of hitches around....
By the way don't feel so poor, when the riches surrounds you...

sandip said...

very compelling ...