Saturday, September 30, 2006

The Act

Old Man walks towards the four youngsters. Asks them whether the road he's on leads to his destination. One of the four knows that Old Man's destination is not a walkable distance away and lets him know that. Old Man shrugs the suggestion away and, with a weary smile on his face, trundles away from the four seeking his destination. As twilight descended on them, the four chat away for some 10-odd minutes reminiscing the pleasant days of yore and part ways.

One of the four, who had guided Old Man along his way, walks in the direction of Old Man hoping to accost him in his way. He does find Old Man a little ahead (Old Man wasn't a fast walker at all. In fact, perhaps the curiosity whether he could walk or not may have led the youngster after him). Old Man seems to be confirming his self-navigation skills with another passerby. The youngster calls for a rickshaw for himself. He ponders whether to offer Old Man a ride to his destination, which seems the right thing to do. Only, an awkward reluctance creeps into him as the rickshaw slows down for him to get in. Old Man hobbles away a few steps ahead. A moment of clear thought and decision hits the young man and he asks the rickshaw driver to wait. He alights and scampers off towards Old Man. He puts out a hand on to Old Man's shoulder to stop him, "Chacha, can I offer you a ride to your destination? It's on the way to where I'm headed". Old Man's tired, cheerful face breaks into a wide, broken-toothed smile. Offering a thanks, he follows the young man into the rickshaw. The young man carries the awkwardness all along the way unsurprisingly as he has done nothing like this before. Instinctively deciding to offer rides to old strangers is certainly not on the young man's everyday to-do list. Very unlike his general tendency, he tries to make small talk with Old Man. A difficult ten minutes pass till they reach Old Man's destination. Old Man cheerily offers his hand and the young man shakes it warmly. The young man watches as the smile gets broader on Old Man's face as he walks away towards his destination. Old Man goes his way but he misses seeing the look of content on the young man's face.

The young man managed a peaceful smile at most that evening as he sat alone in the back of the rickshaw. It was a good feeling. Felt GOOD
 

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