An orphan by birth, I have no name or age. I have no friend and I trust no one except the bespectacled, bald, old man smiling on those paper notes, ‘Bapu’, my Godfather. He is the only one who takes care of me. All I need to do is seek him; so I do with the best of my capabilities which calls for focus, sharp eyes, deft handwork, and swift pace. I work hard as a pick-pocket; switching my field job between the many railway footbridges spread across the city. Central railway station was special though. Because that is where it all began and since it brings me the most business, I go there twice a week.
The other evening as I headed out with the commuting crowd thinning out, the bridge was mostly occupied by the hawkers and beggars at this time who were still at top of their voice, each trying to outdo the other. As a rule, I never spared a single penny with any beggar, who I thought were plain lazy.
From the far end of the bridge, I could see a new member of the lazy gang, who sat quietly rattling his bowl once in a while. There was something about him though that caught my attention. As I came closer, the familiarity was stark. He was the splitting image of none other than my Hero – Bapu. The only odd thing was the black glasses.
“Help this blind man, God will bless you my Son”, he said shaking the rattle.
Poor old blind Bapu called me Son …
He seemed different.I bought us food and sat down talking with him. After meal, he placed his hand on my head and slid down my cheek all the way to chin. This coupled with the toothless smile on his face, felt nice like a warm cup of cutting-chai on a rainy day. I promised to see him again in two or three days.
I came back three days later as promised and he was there. Soon it became a routine that I looked forward to. I would buy food; we would eat together at his spot listening to stories from his childhood. I would tell him all about my day and how much I made. He made me happy just like the imprinted Bapu. However every time I insisted to stay longer, my tired foot would always make me the first one to leave.
That night as I came down the steps of the footbridge yawning, after meeting Bapu, I remembered my bag was still up there. ‘Bapu won’t even know it’s lying next to him and some idiot like me might just pick it up quietly and go.’ I turned around and dragged my feet up to get my bag. A few steps away from reaching the top…I froze. Bapu’s black glasses rested in the bowl along with the few coins he had earned from his begging. He was busy counting my money.
Photo By: Mihaly Koles
This is an entry for #TheLie #Five00-8, a room8 writing event –in 500 words.
Check out the event guidelines here: https://writers.artoonsinn.com/room8/thelie
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