It was three hours since mid noon, roads were desolate and asphalt shining bright. It was dry with thermometer reading 40 degrees. The usual clutter of Godowlia and flood of juntaa was missing. There were few fruit vendors braving the summer sun to quench the primal need of roti-kapda-makaan. Policeman from the security forces guarding the entry-exits, tussling against the afternoon ennui , dozing on and off. Their metal chamber was cooled by an old rusty pedestal fan which creaked in rebellion, asking for a voluntary retirement. Apparently although it was three am the galis were cool like a tropical forest clearing canopied by old houses from either side, strewn with organic and inorganic refuse. He ventured deep into Vishwanath gali. A bull greeted him, with a vigorous swaying of his horns, ‘wanna tussle?’
“Fear not , it won’t hurt”, someone added from an adjoining clothes shop, sensing his uneasiness and probably knowing that the lad wasn’t frequent to galis.
He had learned the typical sound made by cowherds in Rajasthan to guide cows around. He tried and inferior version of this acquired learning , and surprisingly it worked. The bull calmly retreated to its own world.
There was a rush of old memories, they moved around in his head. The idli guy at the entry of gali. The sweet shop ‘Kunju Saav’ which made sweets specific to vrat, and what a diversity he had. A small shops selling local handicraft goods , benarasi sarees and brass utensils. There was another one which sold beads and rudraksha beads. He tried to remember when was the last time he was here, but his memory failed him. He ventured into the rudraksha shop.
“No no, not from Nepal. We buy directly from Indonesia. Nepalese rudraksha is dwindling, Indonesia is filling in the gap”
Do you have 1-2 faced rudraksha bead?
Actually there is nothing like one or two faced bead, its very rare. Usually people go for 16-17 faced one”
Oh really ! Can I have a look ?
He observed the 16 faced rudraksha bead, and tried to understand the hullabaloo around it.
One hour later he was back to Godowlia chauraha, the rising body temperature got him into a state of trance, there was quietude and everything became slow the way he liked. There was rush now and the road was like a mad rush to eternity. Everyone wanted their five minutes of heaven.
There was an old couple trying to pull a cart loaded with long bamboo stems. It was way too bulky for them and their age didn’t help them out either. She felt sorry for them when he was still surmising the precarious swinging of the loose end of bamboos, might hurt someone or scratch the automobile. The on goers drove cautiously around it , muttering under their breath. He silently admired her sensitive side, may be he had lost touch with his emotional side and cared more for logic and reasoning. He remembered quote by ayn rand
You know how people long to be eternal. But they die with every day that passes. When you meet them, they’re not what you met last. In any given hour, they kill some part of themselves. They change, they deny, they contradict–and they call it growth. At the end there’s nothing left, nothing unreversed or unbetrayed; as if there had never been an entity, only a succession of adjectives fading in and out on an unformed mass.
For what was logic sans emotions, it was a chicken-egg question . Yet when he saw the front tyre of hand pulled cart hobbling up in the air from weight, and the old sexagenarians struggling against inertia, it caught him offguard. His old sweating wife struggling, yet pushing it from behind. But as often it happens we let these moments go and rather than helping the troubled , we keep it in our head. Alas ! C’est la vie
May be when they say karma et al it might be true, who knows. He was just trying to rationalize his inaction. Wasn’t there someone named John Galt?