I woke up!
Its 6’o clock, as illustrated by the ticking timepiece, beside my bed. I am not a morning person, and it’s rare of me to wake up early in the morning, especially in winters. But I wasn’t sleepy anymore, and was also hesitant to step out of bed. So I laid still in the bed, calm and composite, as if trying meditating virtually. The warmth of my blanket was enough for me to forget the world, but as it is said, great bonds are often ruptured by the power of lust, and mine case wasn’t unlike either; it was over powered by the lust of a coffee. All of a sudden my reluctance was overshadowed by perseverance & I stepped out to fetch me a mug of hot coffee.
It was cold and foggy outside, as I wiped the mist off the window panes of the kitchen & looked through it. The outlook of street was drizzly, as if it had wept the entire last night, there was a park which used to be green, but now have lost it, as it is the case in winters that nature is confined prominently to all grey color. The weather was relentless & hazy outside and I was found witnessing the bubbles popping up in hot water, while preparing myself a coffee.
I always opine that there are few things which are irrepressible for a human being, and memories being one of them. Memories have a peculiar trait, as to pop up just like the bubbles in hot water, even though short lived, but with a deeper impact than considering. As I gazed over the hot boiling water, it suddenly made me to dive in the memoirs of one of my childhood winters. That winters where I couldn’t really remember the exact age of mine, but it was in that epoch where every child believes his dad to be close to it, if not exactly a superhero.
I dived down to the memory of a market place that was situated near by my residence, which was regularly visited by me along with my father in the evenings. The place had a park on to one side of it, and bungalows to the other. It was a scenic place to be at, or at least felt to me. That place, which is still extremely fresh in my memory, as all my irrational desires were fulfilled there by my ‘superhero’.
It was the month of December & the evenings were cold with nights to be certainly more chilling. And it was one of those regular evenings, while returning from the market; I saw a rickshaw puller sleeping on his rickshaw, by the side of the park under a tree. As I walked passed him, I noticed him to be thin & old, weak & untidy. He had enveloped himself under a blanket, thinner & fissured; he was shivering under it which was inevitable. I continued to examine him, even walking away from him, till his sight was lost in the darkness.
As a child there may be few incidents that can create a deeper impact than the usual; it was one of those for me. Although I had reached home, but mentally was still by the side of the park. On enquiring my father about the puller, he sympathetically addressed him to be poor and homeless, which made me sad. I remember waking up late that night in my bed, restless, thinking about that old man. The night passed & the next day was as usual of my school & stuffs, but that quiver of the old man haunted me & by the evening, I struck by an idea, by the virtue of which I asked my parents to lend the unused blanket of ours to the rickshaw puller, to which they readily agreed. I was happy & pleased with the fact that, at least I could do something, if not extraordinary. It was that time when I got my first taste of the distinction between apathy & empathy. I set out with the blanket on my hand, as if carrying a baby. The feeling of helping others is the most divine vision of a human being, and the world requires it in abundance.
I reached the park with bated breath due to anxiety, and advanced towards the tree. There were few men standing & conversing, beside the rickshaw, and to my perplexity, the old man was not to be found anywhere near. Suddenly, one of the men came up to me, a tall dark one, his face wasn’t frightful but looked very relentless. He gave a good look at me, may be trying to scrutinize my intention of being there. His big reddish eyes made me anxious, and his dusky face was adding to my dread. After a petite glare he asked me, whether I came for the old rickshaw puller; and got a nod of my head in yes as his answer. He came close to me, patted my head, and said “now this (blanket) is not required, you may leave son”, and went back to his assemblage.
I stood there for a while, with the same folded hands which had the blanket, trying to evaluate his words. It took a while for me to get him factually, the world around me was moving, but I stood still and felt my anxiety slowly dissipating out of me. I didn’t questioned, I didn’t answered; just went static for a few moments, before making a move back to home.
The memory of that childhood winter resurfaced from nowhere, and made me void again. The shivering body of that old man under the blanket is still crystal to me. Memories are the ones that affect your day, whether good or bad, same was the case with me. I gulped the last sip of my coffee and placed the mug on the table. Looked at the timepiece again, it was 7’o clock, the weather outside was still hazy and smoggy. And as I am not a morning person, hence I couldn’t refrain myself from going back to bed.