Those Ten Steps

Summers generally kill your hunger. You feel like leaving the tiffin aside and having something that sends chills to your petrified stomach. That is when I thought of the Amul pro-biotic lassi(buttermilk).

In the scorching/killing/human-barbecue-making heat; I started driving to buy my drink. I miss those winter days when one can easily walk to places close-by but those days are gone for the time being.

The huge board of Amul served as the sign of relief and I could already taste the lassi on the tip of my tongue. Quickly trying to park nearby, I saw this guy sitting in the scorching heat and texting. I wondered, how important the text could be, that one would burn in such heat for that. And then in a typically feminine side-glance which is generally given when you check if someone is stalking, full of indifference, made me feel that he was probably staring at me, but like always, there to no point in look into the eyes. Also by then my stomach mourned louder and shut these unnecessarily indulgent thoughts aside.

I assume, I walked about 10 steps for the counter, I didn’t count of course; and waited there for a minute or two before it was my turn. I gave the money and got my lassi— all chilled and I turned back towards my vehicle, pretty much rushing to quickly reach back and have it.

While walking back, I again looked at him, almost like “seeing if he’s still stalking” types. I could still feel the stare and it felt like an impatient emotion from his side. I still did not look in the eye.

And again while I started to leave, I saw from the rear-view. What I saw was heartening. I saw the vehicle that he was on. It seemed like the one for a handicapped, it wasn’t a typical vehicle. It was different but you could make out. He did not look like someone who’s physically handicapped, well probably something in his legs, I could not guess. Yet something was wrong and there was some urgency on his face. And in a moment, as if he realized that I was clearly seeing him, he waved at me; the way we call someone closer for help.

I stopped thinking and immediately turned and rushed back and stood in front of him. His eyes were a little red, could be the heat or something and he was sweating profusely, as if he was standing there for quite some time.

He handed me his phone. It was a Nokia bar phone, I couldn’t help but notice. And there was a message he had typed: “Please. One Butter Milk?” He handed me his 10 rupee note.

“Wow!”, I thought. “So this was what was happening all this time!”

He had some problem in walking I guess, some disability and he was mute. I guess he was deaf too, because he could not hear when I asked if he wants one or two.

I got him his butter-milk packet and waved at him with a smile and he waved with a sense of relief of not having to walk those ten steps and yet not being able to explain or listen. His anxiety seemed to vanish temporarily. I wondered a lot about his life. You can call it day-dreaming too.


Beyond Everything—

It’s important to keep our eyes open a little more.

It’s important to trust a little more.

It’s important to see a little beyond ourselves.

It’s important to feel a little luckier.

Who wants your sympathy?

It’s important to empathize a little more….


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