Friday, November 8, 2013

What's Your Story?

There was a man, who sat in a corner of the sidewalk, crumpled and bedraggled. His bony legs protruded from his coil and huddled close together, to keep him warm. Oft he would sing songs or stretch out his hand, cupping the air above it. At first, a drizzle of coins would clang upon his hard, mottled skin. But even those stopped trickling after a while. Earlier the songs could be heard by the little birds that perched up on trees nearby, or the cat that lazed on ledge above him, digesting the early morning chicken and fish bits fed to it. Now, no sound emitted his half open, parched mouth. His dry, cracked lips remained still, unflinching even to a fly that would take a breather on them. Now he was a creeper on the wall, a stain on the tile and a ghost in the cosmos.

Soon he began to wonder if he had actually died a while ago, and only his ghost remained in the same position. He initially looked around for his body, but could not find it. He screamed in shock and denial of his non-existence, but no one listened. He flailed his arms and ran about wildly, hoping to grab attention. Anyone would have done, even a flicker of an eyelid in mild annoyance. But the wheels on the bus went round and round, and nobody looked outside the window.

So he sat, dead, in his corner, parted lips and departed soul. Until one day, when he briefly snapped out of his reverie and decided to hobble across to a nearby puddle to bathe himself. He would have to get off his sidewalk (it was "his" now, since no one argued his claim in the first place), and crossed the street onto the open ground on the other side, where recent rainfall had left shallow ponds of water and muck.

He got up and began to walk across, when all of a sudden ...SCREEEEEEEEECHHHH! THONK! CRASH *HONK HONK HONK* "Kidhar jaa raha hai, pagal? Signal nahi dikhai deta, kya?"

He found himself lying on the road, dazed and numb in shock, with a crowd of people circling him, bewildered, some of which pointing at him in anger, some in sympathy, some in disgust at the drivers and some in mild curiosity over the sudden screeching of cars and subsequent accidents.

Physically he was unscathed, since the car had halted just in time to save his bony legs (albeit unable to save its own backside). But he was suddenly flooded with sound, smoke, visuals and emotion. His heart was thumping wildly in his fingertips, his lips tore as his mouth widened in shock. His knotted hair bled erratic beads of sweat. His skin has goosebumps. His eyes blazed in fear of having woken up a monster he could not fathom.

He hadn't in his wildest of dreams thought that he would be where he was: at the center of attention.

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