AABA

He was not important to anybody, he was never counted in the population survey, he never went for voting. He used to spend his entire day on a footpath. I just saw him some or the other day while playing on the ground. We used to play and he used watch us from a distance. Sometimes i thought about asking him, if he wants to play with us, but never had the guts. We were used to see him pick up garbage from the footpath and eat whatever was nearly edible. He did not have enough clothes on his body, whatever he used to wear was torn, dirty and shabby. He was tall, thin, untidy, a little older than me. He did not know his name or his place. He had nobody, all alone he used to just pass from front of our houses and the playground. Children used to run behind him, tease him and he used to just scream ‘aaba’. This was all i heard him say. Sometimes I thought that he was mute. Nobody knew anything about him, his family , where did he come from. He is crazy everyone used to say. Whenever somebody shouted aaba at him he used to turn back and smile a little. He always had this glow on his face. Today, after soo many years moving really fast with life i saw him roaming on the footpath. He had grown just like me. He had the same glow just like when he was small. A thought ran in my head, that he did not get any vaccination, he did not have money to buy masks or sanitizers, leave nutritious food he didn’t even get simple food served in a plate. He never received any kind of affection, love. Than to he survived well with a glow on his face. How? How did he live? How did he survive? Everyday battling with the sun, wind, rain, eating unhealthy food, he grew up on a footpath. Today the whole world is scared, Everybody talks about their lockdown experience, how they had difficulty with the work , with classes, with wearing masks Everybody was sitting inside their houses while he is living freely in his own small world. It was not his will. He also wanted a roof above his head, one healthy meal a day. We were busy thinking soo much about ourselves. What will i do? How will my future be? How will this lockdown affect my studies? We were bored in our houses, we wanted to go out, meet our friends, go on trips, go to parties. We were all thinking about this while he used to walk on the footpath, with a will just to live. I opened my car window and called him, “Ay aaba”, he immediately turned back, looked at me, smiled and said “aaba”…

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