Reading is a pre-requisite to writing. While I must admit that I am not a voracious reader of ‘highly intellectual literary material’, since my entry into the blogosphere I have been reading and enjoying (otherwise I won’t read) thoughts and views by people around the world. So in this regular routine of reading blogs, I came across this interesting piece by my friend priyom…
Dad accompanied and insisted on waiting with us for the school bus. We didn’t want him there, (certain issues regarding inappropriately-handled-teenage-trauma) we were perfectly capable of waiting on our own and we were already shaking with nervousness in our new grey skirts with matching grey stockings.
And it was in those quiet few minutes of silent anticipation that we saw a man with khaki pants and loose chappals. The man was making loud hand gestures and was walking around in circles. We smirked at the behavioral ridiculousness and wondered if there was something wrong with him. Our dad however did not even reciprocate by a small hu-ta-tu.
After that, we would see him there almost every single day, same routine of course. We pronounced him to be unhappily senile and yet crazily amusing. On perfectly good days, he would sometimes sit down to talk to himself from perfect hollow memory. At times, he would simply march to and fro. However if there were in fact more fitting conclusions to this daily show, we never did know because our bus timings did not allow us the opportunity of any more such clarifications.
In the afternoon, we would see him perched on this bench outside a tiny tea shop, staring into the distance. We speculated on an extremely sad family history and on his whereabouts during the night, if he actually had any place he could call home. We saw him as weak and uncared for.
We made it a point to shamelessly stare at him each morning till the day we allowed ourselves to grow up and till there was no longer a bus at 8.30 anymore. We gave ourselves the permission to forget about him simply because we didn’t care enough.
It was some time before I came back home for my college holidays. That day, they were sawing the huge birch tree near our lane. But that old tea-shop was still there. And sitting with the same vacant expression, was the same person that I had lost to memory some years back.
It was not like he was a part of an exciting story and deserved any specific remembrance. But somehow, on highly dramatic grounds, the fact that he was still there, unchanged, unaffected had me feeling triumphant.
His being there told me that he had survived changes and time. Because I sure as hell hadn’t. Yes, he was a consolation. He was still there.
The author does not state what he had he been doing in the earlier days. Neither do we know whether he was successful in his quest. But the story reminds me of people around me who seemingly achieved nothing all their lives. You might very well say that they wasted one great chance over their cynical acts. Delve deeper into their lives, only to realize how they have meticulously succeeded in what they aimed for. In most cases their rarely appreciated contributions are instrumental in consolidating ground for things which can be appreciated.
Hats off to the wheels of the chariot of success on which our heroes ride; for they are the ones who keep running around to keep the chariot still…