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You might be the best in whatever you do. But there are things, a certain number of them that you cannot define, neither can you touch. You think of them all the time but fail to understand properly, and at the end of the day, become happy at a boring lecture or a newsroom discussion terming all those ‘things’ abstract ideas. One such thing is kindness, isn’t it?
Wednesday, January 4, 2011. 10 am.
The boy in the white shirt and blue shorts was lean and had a shabby appearance. He sat near me in my bus ride to work place. I was thinking about the probability of stopping my transfer in job from Thalassery to Kannur town, a one hour ride from where I work now. And as it always happened, the job-thought was followed by a melancholic expression and anxiety that spilled out of the skin and possessed my gestures and even silence. I doubted my countenance betraying my anxiety. In my attempt to check whether the next person had seen me worrying and mumbling incessantly, I found this shaggy passenger nearby. He might not have seen me, I thought, since he was looking for something in the plastic cover in which he kept his books.
Wednesday, January 4, 2011. 9.30 am.
A small town near Thalassery; in one of the reading rooms, a morning crowd is swimming through the news papers. A young boy came into the room. He deposited his plastic packet on the nearby table and immersed himself in the pleasure of reading newspapers. Someone came in and started asking for a pen. The boy opened his package and took a pen from it. Once handing over the tool he resumed reading.
His face gleamed in the secret joy of approaching the most accepted act of maturity. From his father to his older brother, everyone read newspapers, and they were all adults. That was how they all grew old, thought the boy. The bus came honking, pulling the kid out of the pool of news papers.
Wednesday, January 4, 2011. 10.05 am.
“What happened?” I asked the boy.
“My pen. I lost it,” He said. The bus with its heavy sound blurred the tension from his spoken frequency. He felt weak, partly from the stress of losing his pen, and partly from some unknown background influence. Unknown to me, of course; the boy was a stranger to me and I was in no station to help him. I even doubted what consequences my helping the boy might bring about upon me. There was some insecurity that I observed in me, then. It was unsettling. Kidnap, sexual abuse and a whole lot of accusations, for a flicker of a second, roamed around my mind.
The society we live in is mad, mad enough to let any of its members down without regarding their subjectivities, what they think, what they feel. There is a second chance for us all, but every society with its crudeness rejects it. I wanted a chance; time was then, place was the bus. I took a pen from my bag.
“Take it,” I offered.
He hesitated. And then took it. A smile fluttered on his lips. And that was my reward. Happy Wednesday!