It was the busiest street in the city. It yielded to an intersection of roads leading in five directions. Cars, scooters, bus, rickshaws, tempo, bikes, cycles and people on foot were flowing from all directions only to be headed in their own. During the day it was almost impossible for a vehicle to not touch at least two others. Often, this was followed by a minor incident of road rage. Yet the traffic flowed non-stop. The intersection was manned by at least 7 ‘mamus’ and a Police Chowki but to a casual observer their efforts would have appeared to be in vain. The so called travelers would usually be in utmost hurry and too tortured to give a hoot.
While all this was happening, in the center of the city, an invisible man was walking in the middle of the street, close to the divider but not on it. He wasn’t invisible invisible, he was made invisible by the incapability of the busy travelers to give a hoot. Like we all do every once in a while.
This man, there was something odd about him. He was walking very slowly. As a person with sorrow would walk. He was walking barefooted on that piping hot asphalt, in the middle of the day. His hair were long and shabby as if they hadn’t been washed and combed in ages. Similar was the plight of his face. He had only one piece of cloth on his body, an old fashioned jangia. Even that was loosely worn, such that it failed in it’s purpose to hide his rear. He didn’t appear older than 40. His eyes, his eyes, there..there it was, in his eyes. His eyes were half-red, sunken and they bore enormous pain.
He seemed lost, physically, mentally and spiritually. Imagine what could cause a man to walk almost naked, in the busiest street of the city, in the middle of the day and not giving a hoot. Even the best of us on our worst of days would be much better placed than him. Then what could cause him such misery? It wasn’t just lack of money. It must have been something more. Something that robbed his soul and left the living body to wander alone.
Alone. Yes, probably that’s what he was. In the world full of 7 billion people, on the busiest street of the city, he was alone. No one to call family. No friends. It wasn’t the pain in his eyes that I saw, it was the loneliness, the feeling of being neglected by the world. The feeling that no one wanted him. How would that feel? Scary, frightening, presence of a huge hole where there should have been a heart, massively depressing. How a child would feel when left alone in the dark to face his demons. But eventually, numb.
Isn’t that the worst a person could feel?
This nameless man, he wasn’t as invisible as he thought for he caught my eye, got stuck in my mind and I created this. If you read this through, now you know him too. We may never know this man’s identity and that’s on me. But we can do this. Next time, when we see such a man, let’s buy them a cup of tea and get to know their story. It might cost us a few minutes but it might mean a world to them.
Do think about it!
If you have such a story and would like to share, please do share. Don’t hold yourself back.