On a fine morning of an extremely fine sunday, I was returning back home after an exhausting football match. The exhaustion was worth it ’cause we had won the match. But my feet were almost crying; and let me clear you that it was not the tears of joy…tears of pain instead, literally.
My team was already gone home, no one was there to accompany me or encourage me to keep walking.
You know, an extra pair of legs are always more supporting than four shoulders.
But since neither shoulders nor extra legs were there so I was praying to god to pick me up…and safely drop into my home. And if he couldn’t do it himself then atleast send one of his angels. While thinking about such absurd ideas, I kept my feet moving.
There were many people in the stadium, yet I was covered in solitude.
In a grey T-shirt, a bag containing studs on my back and reciting a song…because I can’t sing or hum.
Well, I was alone on my way so I tried to get someone’s company. A bottle blush plant was there on the roadside (with a board that plucking flowers or leaves is strictly prohibited).
Noone was watching me although a lot people were passing by.
Here in India no one gives a shit about rules written in our constitution; then why would anyone stop me just because a random board was saying so?
I plucked two bottle blushes and held them tightly in my fist.
Now I had tall, red and handsome partners with me.
Stadium’s compound ended and I was on the main road, walking carelessly and freely while reciting the same two lines of a song again and again. That song had sort of healed the pain in my legs by distracting my brain.
There were some common scenes on the footpath. Few bikers climbing up to escape traffic, a hell lot of litter, and the same old woman whom I first saw two weeks ago, in tattered clothes, weird hair style and an old rusty bowl like structure to keep the money given by passerbys.
It started two weeks ago, and since then she has always asked for some “help” from me on a daily basis.
That day was no diffrent from others. She recited her mugged paragraph; and like other days, I couldn’t understand even a single word and simply decided to move on.
I moved ahead a step or two and felt the flowers in my hand. For a second I thought that I should give these to her. I couldn’t give her any money as I was a student with no earning.
And the pocket money, I never felt the need to carry some with me to the stadium.
Well, my mind was tangled in itself as what to do?
Giving flowers to that begger could make her feel good. But one can’t satisfy hunger with flowers or emotions attached to it.
Also she might feel that I’m mocking her poverty. So ultimately I gave up the idea. I moved away.
Further, I reached the square. A bunch of homeless kids were roaming there. Among the four, two eldest ones were girls and two little boys accompanied them. It was weird to have a warm jacket, a sweater and some thermals inside; while only one of them had slippers in their feet. One of the boys had a dusty woolen cap, and perhaps he’d won it since he was the youngest. Only around two years old.
I looked at the girls, probably wishing to light some fire. But they lacked matches perhaps, so did I. And clearly I couldn’t give them any of my wearings. My mom would have killed me. Well, so I was left with a couple of bottle blush. It might have had made them happy, as mostly shown in movies.
I walked towards them with a smile on my face. But before i reached them, my eyes fell upon a middle aged biker who was sitting on his stationery bike and talking on phone.
The weird thing about him was that he was continuously staring at the oldest girl among them.
She must’ve been around 14. She had her back towards us and her tattered cloths revealed some part of her shoulder.
That man was intetesting enough to find some fun in gazing at her torn clothes. Or perhaps I presumed this. He too, just like me, was mentally sympathising with her at her poor state. Though his creepy smile said something else.
His creepy smile made me give up the plan of giving her the flowers. There were other people too. If i straight away gave them the flowers, they could see me as a pervert. Or even worse, they might label her a prostitute. I walked away with flowers still in my hand.
Fast forward, I crossed the busy square, walked a hundred or so meters and took a turn to enter my lane. It was mostly empty compared to the working days. A few parked cars, and a cycle cart with some municipality workers around brooming and cleaning.
Due to some irresponsible people and there pets, there was a lot of dog poop lying in the lane. There were at least 3 spots of sheer negligence with stinking dog potty.
The workers were cleaning it all. I wondered if that could be termed as “manual scavenging”.
Well anyway, when I’d moved quite far away from them, I thought, now could’ve been a good time for showing respect towards their diligence. After all they do the toughest, or the work which is most despised and still they get paid the least money.
They desreve atleast some respect and a pair of bottleblush. I turned back to see that they’d left the lane.
I still had a visual contact, but they were too far away for me to walk all the way with my aching legs.
I frowned at me and kept walking towards home.
Mom was making breakfast, dad had already left for office. It was rarely ever a sunday for him.
I thought, how much they care for me. They work day and night and work hard to make my life easy. And what do I give back? Nothing.
But I can’t give them anything either, afterall I still don’t earn. Though I can give them some afection atleast.
The flowers were still in my hand. They were slightly crushed but still manageable.
I kept the flowers on a table and went to take a bath.
When I returned, the flowers were there no more. I asked mom has she taken them? And yes… she did. But she didn’t keep these for herself, instead they were lying in front of lord krishna’s idol.
Well, the flowers still looked good. And I learnt a lesson. Flowers are not for real people with real problems… they do no good to them.
Flowers are for a fake entity who is supposed to do good for everyone.