1. He plods through the town, with his clothes turning into rags & rags into tatters. At times, destiny plays those cruel tricks as if by sheer dynamics of chance, it is you on whom befalls the fiery wrath of Gods. The fall from grace, from the pedestal of relative prosperity hits the hardest. ‘Destiny’ & ‘fortune’ go hand in hand, when one evades, the other follows in suit. Realizing that, life is filled with duality: good- evil, love- disdain, empathy -disgust & opulence- poverty, may be that is why a majority amongst us fervently finds a benign solace in a higher spirit, the one who always maintains a fine balance between these opposites of life.
2. Every day you see that old hawker pushing & panting, he arrives at the same corner of the street, knowing well that his measly income can barely meet his needs let alone help him afford a family, still the man comes each day, plodding & then he’d wait sometimes drenched beneath the grey clouds at other times being at the mercy of the sun’s onslaught. You see, it is hope that drives people to great lengths, seemingly arduous tasks are accomplished with a glint of hope.
And the day ends as usual, he counts, it is seventy- eight today, ten more than yesterday. He looks towards the shimmering night sky & says, “God is merciful!” . Quickly, he slides them in his pocket. His day begins when others are still coiled under the warmth of blanket, the dawn, when the maina perched on that oddly twisted branch opens its wings wide as if it were ready to embrace the very first rays of the sun, & flies along the pervasive horizon. Hope feeds life the same way as a brush of green feeds the grey canvas.
Quickly he puts on the rags, it stinks, that ominous assault on the only olfactory sensor which God did bestow on us. When this wretched stomach growls, picking the best rag to wear always turns a luxuriant indulgence.
Sometimes, lost in the myriad of thoughts, flickering like neon bulbs, he’d hazily recall the lush green fields, swaying wildly with every gust of wind temporarily interrupted by the long files of snailing cars, he sees them desperately honking while his life seems to have met an obscure monotony. They said, the roads were unable to cope with this increasing traffic, partly because people had begun to buy big- cars, yes dear opulence has began to gnaw this country. He could see the mud- path, the kachha road, thick with monsoon rain where he would run wildly & joyously each time father would return from Calcutta. He would bring him toy- cars, those fitted with keys, they were a rage back then in his village. This was the time of Dusherra, the extravagant Bengali festival. The time of family get- together, enjoying those sumptuous roso-gollas with cousins of every size whose names he barely remembers now. And then there was this annual mela, famous for its giant wheel sending children whirling in the sky! It was a delight watching the hawkers with brightly colored stalls arranged in meticulous files. The uncanny ability of hawkers to win over customers at every haggling always left him stumped. Had he learnt this art of smiting prospective customer life would have surely turned simpler.
“Wake up! You lazy brat, its time” the sharp voice plinks through his dreams of home & family.
© Haris Ahmed