By Vrinda Ravi Kumar:

Today was just another day.

I was walking through the muddy, narrow, uneven roads of a particular
place in Delhi. Things passed me by. A guy with a muffler and a cap, a
hassled woman with two naughty kids and a lot of bags; a group of
three teenage boys laughing raucously.

The ground was slippery and wet, it was freezing outside, and all I wanted to do was get the hell out of there after finishing the work I had.

It was, in fact, just another day…

I walked by a mobile store, a grocery store, a vegetable vendor, two
shops selling woollens and a mobile store. Then I saw the old man.

His waist length hair stood out white as snow against the dirty, muddy
path. His silence shouting over the babble of meaningless noise. He
was bent over double. He was carrying a thick staff to support
himself and a small broken tin that contained a few coins and some
leaves (probably tulsi leaves to give with his blessing to those who were kind
enough to drop a rupee or two into his tin). He was wearing a thin
white kurta-pyjama that was stained well beyond social acceptance. His
steps were minuscule, probably six or seven to counter a single step
of mine. Every step seemed to cause him pain. He was mumbling softly
to himself. His skin was stretched tightly over his bones. He was not
shivering. People bustled around him, pushing him when he got in their
way. He didn’t react. It was just another day…

I moved on, after all, I had things to do.

I finished buying everything I needed for my use in the main market after twenty short minutes,
and had a few hot jalebis to counter the biting cold at the sweet shop
nearby.

I stopped to examine an extra shiny mirror that gave off a distorted
reflection. A moment’s amusement.

I stopped to give a woman directions.

I walked back. I passed a bickering married couple, a group of four teenagers
laughing at the couple and a worried-looking man talking on his
cell phone.

I also saw the silent old man again, walking in the same direction.

He had crossed two shops. Five metres.

But you know what? It’s all cool. I got my work done. It’s been a
productive trip. I can go back and rest at home with warm covers and a
cup of steaming tea.

It’s just another day, right?

Don’t answer. Don’t comment. For once, don’t do what people normally
do – battering through their life, causing pain to others. Think for
yourself.

The way forward is by pushing others behind you, is it not? It’s all
relative. The law of the world. – irrefutable, cold, hard math. Fine, go right ahead.
Push, pull.  Sabotage.  Frame. Pull more. It’s not any nearer. Pull again, harder.
So close. So close.
Achieve your goal.

Then what?

Comments
Harvey Specter
Posted at 8:08 pm August 6, 2013
Prabahan Chakraborty
Reply
Author

Loved this !! The pace at which the story unfolds is absolutely brilliant, and your last line nails it completely ! Superb !

Harvey Specter
Posted at 3:39 pm March 8, 2012
Shivangi Singh
Reply
Author

Absolutely Brilliant piece of writing! Crisp, cutting-edge…binds you with every word…DELIGHTFUL!

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