Thursday, August 28, 2014

Through the coloured glass

Suddenly our car halted. I resurrected to the life of flesh and blood only to realize that the whole traffic was stopped at a crossing because some "Godly" minister had a sudden urge to enjoy his evening in the vicinity of Taj Mahal with his family. To make it worse, my phone battery died.
An abrupt noise shattered my daydream, a noise made when two metals strike each other. He was a small boy, one of the street boys who lived on the footpath and came begging to the cars stuck in the jams. Really it is quite annoying for the persons in their air-conditioned luxury cars to be disturbed by those scorching in mid summer’s noon with no assurance of even a hand-to-mouth existence. I too pitied them but never actually cared. I mean, who am I to do anything for them? I am just a student.We all are just "somebody”. It’s the duty of the government to do something to push them off the footpaths where they set up their little carts, shops and sometimes even tatters which they call home. The government should lure them away with a promise of a good living to the outskirts of a city where they would never trouble a BMW or a Mercedes.  After all, for an important crossing of a great city glorified by the statue of the great Maharana Pratap, they are a misfit.Besides, it is creepy and scary for little girls including my younger sister, given the way they hang up on the windows for their "share" of the world on the other side of the glass. But why to allow them even a glance of the world they don't deserve?

I tried to ignore him as if he never existed and waited for him to return to his very own world from where he emerged on the sight of red signal.Some people choose to shoo these creatures away while there are some generous fools who give them a drop from their "hard earned" ocean.
But this was a tough one, younger than those of his kind. Small children are often persuasive. With time, he will also acquire the skills of choosing the right target as his brothers have done instead of wasting their valuable time on the likes of me.He didn’t seem to lose heart at my ignorance and went around every window cleaning them with all the might he had, especially the driver's window, and knocking them with his little knuckles too soft to make a noise that would penetrate the coloured glass that stood between him and us.  At last, my father asked us to do away with him with some change .I volunteered and rolled down the window. The hot summer loo slapped me right on the cheek. The heat was unbearable to me, but indifferent to the world on the other side of the window. The child was elated on seeing the window rolled down. I could sense he was more excited by the robotic sound the window made. I gave him a 10-rupee note. I saw the excitement dying in those twinkling entrapping eyes which were innocent enough to shrug off some money even from the stone hearted. After clear examination, he threw the note back at me. I was appalled. I wouldn’t, in heaven’s chance offer him a denomination larger than that, so I rolled up the window. He banged the glass with a coin this time. My mother advised not to open it. Thankfully, the signal turned green and we were again in motion but only to move by an inch. I looked back through the smiley's nose, which the child had painted on our dusty rear window. I realized that he only wanted coins. Money did not seem to interest the boy, which could buy him the other important things in his life. He was euphoric in hearing the sound the coin made every time he dropped it in his dilapidated moneybox. He had disappeared in the crowd of other street boys and there I was, cursing my empty soul for having denied those innocent eyes the joy that co-existed in the two worlds, nevertheless at peace with its inability to penetrate through the coloured glass.  

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