An Old Man by the Window


Paatttt!! came the sound as doors banged loudly against their respective frames. The plant pots, kept on the railing of balconies of nearby houses, couldn’t pull their weight against it’s ferocity and got shattered as they tried to resist it. It seemed to have an intoxicating effect on trees, they waved as if possessed. It was hard to tell whether they were dancing or playing it’s puppet. A stroke of bright light flashed in the sky, creating a day that lasted no longer than a second. Usually, it spoke in thunders but it was mostly silent that night. The dark of the night made it even more ominous.

An old man, sitting in a corner of his silent room, was watching it through his window. At 90, life had taken away much of his rigor and left him physically weak and fragile. Sitting in that chair or lying in his bed were the only activities that made up most his day. Having lost the energy and will to carry himself around he was dependent on others for almost every task. Even though it agonized him there was little he could do about it. Old age does that to one’s spirit.

For him it wasn’t just a gust of wind but a reminder of days when he was as strong and fierce. It reminded him of the time when he could take on whatever challenges life threw his way. The time when he lost his father at an early age of 19. The time when he didn’t have enough money to even pump up his bicycle tires. The time when he left his hometown, along with his mother and Rs. 500 as his sole inheritance, in search of work. The time when he embarked on a journey to create a legacy for his future generations. But little did he knew that no one can win against life and time.

Though he was sitting alone in that dimly lit room on that thunderous night, he never felt lonely. Not until that night. He was missing his wife. He was used to her presence. How could he not, she was always by his side, taking care of his tiniest of needs. She kept him company. He wasn’t just missing her, he was concerned for her well-being. She was in the hospital, for the first time in many years. Though she was strong and took good care of herself, age didn’t spare her either. The day before she had a mishap and suffered a major fracture. Even in that condition, she was worried about him. Worried that he was upset because of her condition. Worried that he wouldn’t be able to get by without her. Such was their love.

On any other night, the old man would have ignored the thunder and enjoyed the cool breeze. That night the wind seemed to mimic the turmoil within him. It roared when he lamented, it shattered pots when he felt lonely, banged doors when he cursed his helplessness and waved trees when he missed her. That night the wind was a puppet of his feelings.