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Sunday, February 13, 2011

Value

This Sunday, I managed to wiggle out of my presence at the Aero Show.Four days of sweet talk, hustling was the limit for me. I gave a nice reason to my boss” Sir, I need to go for a meal with someone, if not today it has to be tomorrow…..” I trailed off and with a suggestive smile said,” and tomorrow I will be bankrupt…I hope you can understand”.

The clout at this institution is limited for me; I guess it will change if I get some deals which I hope will happen soon. Hence , my boss insisted, I sweet talked further and said” Sir I can give nice reasons that I am sick, have stomach ache, etc etc….but I think we can be mature enough to understand compulsions.”

Finally he relented.

So Sunday morning, I had nothing to do which is a blessed relief. My body was cracked and stiff after driving for 300kms over 4 days and I decided to give myself some massage to relive the aches.

Lathered with some strong smelling oil and barebacked in the sun was good. A warm bath later, I dozed off, heavy with half a liter of milk, cornflakes, bananas, apples some grapes a glass of Soya milk, topped off with some fruit juice.

Waking up, I was again hungry, this time it was pizza hut, so off we went. The bill was 1000 bucks for two people, I paid off, and D remarked,” We knew we were going to be raped before coming here, and I was prepared to enjoy it.But I did not factor that the rape would be replaced by gang rape”.

I shrugged off; at least the food was good for the palette.

We walked back and I suddenly had some desire for the good old, sugar syrup tea of the roadside stalls. So we stood near the hole in the wall, sipping the warm sugar solution with D with his trademark fag, for my company.

I happened to glance at a decrepit old woman on the opposite side of the road. She was mentally challenged and was rummaging through he garbage. Soon another of her type joined her in rummaging. Both of them were filthy, disheveled. The man had a rag of a cloth with the front open, and the woman thankfully had some form of cloth covering her comfortably.

They located something and a fight ensued as to who should take it. A fiery argument ensured, and I could fathom bits of it thanks to the Kannada I was picking up. The woman ruled over the man it seems and came off better in the argument. Dejected the man ambled his way towards the stall, crying and shouting.

Looking at the crowd eating and sipping tea, he thought of trying his luck. He gave a powerful smell, akin to rotting garbage, and this ensured that anyone to whom he walked took back a few paces. This seemed to delight him, and he began going around in circles near ad hoc groups happy with his power of repulsion ( an offshoot of revulsion, which he did not care about).

He came towards us too. I stood rock still, and so did D. 

The mad man had a deep cut running though the side of his cheek, and that was laced with grime.

He was puzzled as to why he did not retreat.

He touched my arm, darn sure that I would revolt if not that at least show some expression of distaste.

I slowly clasped his hands and removed them from my arm. At this gesture of mine he.......... looked up.

He looked at me with his bloodshot eyes and began crying, piteously.

I am neither social servant nor Mother Teresa, but for a minute I too felt pity. I mimicked my glass and asked if he wanted some tea. He nodded eagerly, and motioned towards some rolls lying on the stall.

I raised my eyes towards the stall owner, and he handed one vegetarian roll and some tea to the man. Happy, he began to sip the tea. 

The roll, he did not touch.

Tea done, he picked up the roll and walked over to the other side of the road, where the old lady was seated trying to eat something that was thrown away by fortunate ones.

He sat beside her and broke the tiny vegetarian roll into half, handed the other to the woman. She kept aside the garbage food and began eating the roll as well.

Both were smiling.

The man then walked away, crooning something.

I had blown hundred times the amount which was food for two people for one time. I felt mollified and a little bit ashamed as well. 

I asked D, "What the mad man just did, do you think any of us fortunate types would have done had we been in the same postion.What is the difference between them and us, for all I know the way I drive my bike, I could end with one broken leg and arm, and maybe be like them one day”.

D replied,” A sardar would have, you know their motto right?...Seva karo, that is why they have such huge  bodies , it is to cover their large hearts”.

I laughed heartily.

D blew the smoke way from my face, “Tell me Rajan, do you think sorrow is bad

"I do not know", I replied

D said, “Well hear me out. Assume you are married, have a kid and she is learning to ride a bicycle. You know he/she has learnt the basics, but she wouldn’t master here fear of falling over unless you allow her to fall and hurt herself ones. You know that you would have to let go of the protective hand of yours, once at least. What will you do?"

“I will let go of my hand if that is the only way for the kid to learn”, I replied.

“And won’t that be hurtful for her, wont that give her sorrow even if it is transient”.

Yes, it would.

“But then the kid learns right, so Rajan sorrow is a great leveler. Sorrow is a great teacher, what you did just now, and what the mad man and woman did just now was learning for them. So do not feel bad or ashamed of it”.

This point I decided to pen this down.

PS – The stall owner did not charge me for the additional tea and vegetarian puff!

2 comments:

Standbymind said...

Thanks for sharing man

Srikant Rajan said...

Thanks for reading through:)