Monday, 13 September 2010


I see him quite often trudging his way through a maze of unknown faces in the metro station. Our timing coincides perfectly when I am a little late than usual. He maintains his time around ninish every morning. At first I thought he was a student. A dark, longish face, close cropped hair, medium height, he drags his right leg along in a pronounced limp. He dresses well with matching shining boots and a rucksack rests peacefully on his back. He lumbers on threading his way efficiently through the crowd. Sometimes he halts on his way and lets the mad rush pass by. I observe him often – straight backed and proud.

Two days back it so happened that I got a seat in the train by a stroke of luck. As I gazed around, I found the boy standing right in front of me. I gestured to him and offered my seat. He looked aghast and said “No please! Never mind.” A deep, strong, confident resonant, well modulated voice! A mesmeric moment of melodious notes! More so may be because I have an ear for music, the rendition sounded sonorous and soothing to say the least. The faint but firm stress on the “please” restrained me from insisting further. I realized that I had made a mistake in concentrating on his handicap. We are all mutilated and tainted, aren’t we? In thoughts and deeds if not in appearance or attire!

He stood their looking like a mutinous child with his back turned towards me. His body language made me feel guilty. Did I do anything wrong by offering him a seat? Did I hurt his pride? Should I have treated him like all other passengers? Did he feel angry or embarrassed at my obvious display of kindness? Did he take my kindness to be pity? Would it not be against etiquette not to have offered him the seat? These and many more questions tormented me and still make their disturbing presence felt in my mind.

I grope in the dark for a suitable answer. I still do. An answer matching the rich diction of his unspoken words, his unpublished, unpublicised rebel with himself and the world which will not go down anywhere in the annals of history in indellible golden prints amidst a galore of pomp and show but which cumulates and consolidates in silence the day to day human efforts and endeavours against all odds - physiological as well as psychological, cerebral as well as social. In the mundane Draconian drudgeries of life, a flickering flame of hope.

Thus goes the tale of an ordinary man.
Who rejoiced in rain and against time he ran.
And made his presence felt
In the timelessness of time.
In silence, in words, in deeds,
In thoughts, may be not so sublime.
But still he tried, he pushed, he cried..
He toiled, he survived, he foiled, he surpassed
He burnt and rose from ashes, he learnt
Perhaps his Heart to defy.
But he refused to be by-gone, lost in memory.
Forgiven by sorrow, forgotten by time.
He was one amongst many and many amongst one.
The connect divine in the multitude that thronged
The scampering paths of life.
He is, he will and shall always remain
Just an ordinary man.

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