Sunday, July 21, 2024

Strangers in the park – The Hindu

There was early morning mist, but it evaporated with the rising sun. 

There was early morning mist, but it evaporated with the rising sun. 
| Photo Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

It was eight in the morning. There was early morning mist, but it evaporated with the rising sun. Sunday being a holiday, most of the residents were in or around the colony park.

Suddenly, a three-wheeler came and stopped at the corner of the park. A man and four children descended from the vehicle. The children were between the ages of four and 10, the youngest a boy. The man seemed exhausted. They were not dressed for the severe cold.

The children, except the boy, were in their school uniforms. The man looked tense and preoccupied. The children started to play right away yelling back and forth. They picked up papers and empty bottles and started throwing at each other. Everybody was disturbed and distraught. All watched in silence.

Soon, somebody complained to the colony pradhan, the chief. He immediately called out the man in a rude manner. “Hey man, are you deaf? Don’t you see your children making nuisance to one and all?’

The man lifted his gaze slowly but focused nowhere as he was awakened from a trance and looked disoriented.

Finally, he came to his senses and said softly: “Excuse me, I couldn’t concentrate. Their mother died last night in the nearby hospital. They will release the body in the afternoon. I couldn’t do much.”

“Yes, my children disturbed you. I am deeply sorry….. please. I will vacate the place right away.”

Everybody standing nearby suddenly felt differently. All the pretence and stealth vanished from their faces. They became humans instantaneously.

I apologised to him and asked, “How did it happen? How can I help you?” He just thanked me and called out his children. The boy was sleeping. I looked at his face. It was calm and quiet without any trace of hate or fear. He was blissfully unaware of the harsh realities of this world. Amen!

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