Monday, September 25, 2006

A 10-year-old glint!

Posted by Picasa the glint...

He sat on the bench and looked around. It was only 9.00 am but there were still a few people walking. He opened his school bag and felt the inside pocket. Through the lining the rustling sound of the crisp notes made him want to take it out and count it one more time. Just then a dog ran towards him wagging its tail. He wondered if he should feed it a biscuit from his snack box. But he had a long wait ahead. So he merely patted its head.

Mummy said he always came to Cubbon Park for a walk. It was a routine of many years. A walk and then a morning coffee at Koshy's. He raised his water bottle to his mouth and drank deeply. What if this was the one day he decided to stay at home? He wondered.

Rahul had not seen his father since he was one. He was still crying on his mom’s shoulders when she walked out on his father. He couldn’t quite remember his father’s face. 10 years was a long time indeed. But somehow, that glint in the eye, that shone even brighter as it welled up, was etched deeply in the one-year-old’s head. After all, that is one thing his growing eyes had been searching for all this while – the only memory of his dad. Today, he was going to see that glint again.

When his mother remarried a year after the divorce, she thought that she’d filled the vacuum in her son’s life. She had succeeded in bringing a man into her son’s life – a man for him to look up to. But would she be ever able to replace a relationship, she’d probably never know.

His granny used to tell him that he looked exactly like his father – the green eyes, the broad forehead… Every time she told him a tale about his father, he’d feel jealous. He wanted to meet his dad. With age, the urge had also grown within. Every time his friends talked about their dads, his little heart would pound away in excitement. It was filled with a lot of things - a lot of things about his dad. He would open his mouth and then it would strike him. The realization that he had nothing, but a 10-year-old-glint and a few silent tears tucked away in the corner of his heart, to talk about.

It was on Rahul’s 11th birthday that his mother finally granted him the wish. She had given him all that money could buy. She had kept him the happiest son on earth. She had never imagined that what her son would ask her this time was something that couldn’t be bartered for anything in the world. “I want to see dad, mummy,” he’d asked. For the first time in her life, she did not have an answer. She could only manage a moment of speechlessness before walking out of his room. When she returned to a half-asleep Rahul at night, she had decided. “When do you want to meet your father”, she whispered into his ear. Those were the sweetest words he had heard his entire life.

The sun was shining in its full glory. The crowd had started to diminish. Yet, there was no sign of him. The dog had found a cozy spot under his bench, and looked all set to take a nap. Unlike Rahul, he had no one to wait for. He slowly opened his pack of biscuits, took one out, and threw it to the dog. He opened one his eyes, glanced at the biscuit indifferently, and went back to his nap.
The summer in Bangalore had changed a lot. The cool shades had given way to mirages. This was not the Bangalore he had known. However, whether it was the anxiety that was making him sweat, or the sun, he did not know.

It must have been hours before he lifted his stare off the green grass. “Tak.Tak.Tak.” “What’s that noise,” he said to himself. There was nobody in sight. Must be a woodpecker, he thought. His stare returned in search of green. “Tak. Tak.” There it was again. Leaving his bag on the bench, Rahul got up. A man was slowly entering through the gates. He was too far away to for Rahul to get a clear glimpse, but he could clearly see that the man was limping. The tapping noise was produced by the cudgel he was carrying which aided him at every second step he took. As he sat staring at the man, he felt some sudden movement near his feet. The dog had woken up. It must have been the familiar sound. He rushed to the man at the gate. The familiarity stamped the fact that the man was a regular at the park. Would he be able to tell me something about my father, he wondered.

He looked at his watch. It was almost 12. His hunger was slowly overpowering his patience. The tapping noise grew louder. The man and the dog were approaching him slowly. Suddenly, the thing dawned upon him. The man was blind. His cudgel was not making up for a physically challenged leg, but his vision. His acquaintance with the place had disguised the fact for some time. But now that he was quite close, it was clear. As the man neared him, the sun reflected directly into Rahul’s eyes off his glasses. He turned away. He looked at the gate and around the park. The man and the dog were the only living beings around the park apart from him. He picked up his bag and slowly got up. “This was not to be the day,” he thought. As he walked towards the gate, he turned back one final time. The man was walking away slowly towards the other end of the park - with the dog at his heels and the glint neatly hidden behind his dark goggles.

1 comment:

aval said...

Just been through all your blogs/ posts. Yummy reading.