Friday, June 26, 2009

One Cold Evening

The clock struck six as I left office and started to walk towards the bus stop. It was one hectic day at the office, my shoulders were stiff with tension, and my face was tired from all the frowns, I gave in my appraisal meeting. All I got was a 20% raise, only 20%. The day couldn't get any worse for me.

The monsoon had arrived and the atmosphere, the surroundings where all damp. Dark grey clouds had taken over the clear blue sky, the sun seemed to have called it a day and dived into the horizon. There was a slow but a very cold breeze and a light drizzle in the air. As I walked, I zipped up my jacket and hoped it would not rain till I reached home. My legs were getting a bit stiff due to the chill in the air. I tried to walk fast as the clouds rumbled with fury and warned us of the heavy rain that was going to hit us.

I was about to cross the road, when a young boy who looked not a day older than six, ill fed, wearing partly torn clothes, humming Mungaru Male (popular kannada song), ran past me. As he passed he hit my leg with his swinging hand, and fell on my back with his hands touching the back of my thigh, but within a second he was up. I stopped to look at the kid, who now was a few yards away from me. He stopped running and stood there looking at me, with his big jet black eyes and an innocent big smile on his face. Which gave way to shouts of "Am sorry Anna (Brother) am sorry anna". I smiled back at him, and stood there watching him, run away singing the song loudly.

As I crossed the road, my brain kept going back to that kid. How happy he was, even though he wore clothes, which barely covered his frail body, he danced and ran around in the cold, singing and smiling, and I shivered and frowned with the jacket on. My thoughts were abruptly stopped by heavy rains which started to lash on me. I ran to take shelter in an old abandoned bus stop.

I wiped my face with a kerchief and, looked around to see one old man standing with me in the bus stop. The rain started to get stronger and stronger with each passing second. The street lights were on, which gave rise to an yellow glow in the air; cars zipped past splashing water on either side of the road.

I stood there looking at the cars; the dog trying to hid below a stone park bench. Just then I felt a tap on my shoulder, it was the old man, he looked to be in his late 50s, He had a black jacket on, and held what looked like a walkie talkie. His skin had wrinkles, his eyes were small, but didn't look tired, his hair partly grey and partly black, wearing brown leather shoes he looked like a police constable.

He smiled at me "Do you happened to have a lit" he asked holding a cigarette.

A fellow smoker, you never say no to a fellow smoker when asked for a lit.

I pulled out a fancy liter, out of my pocket and handed it to him.

Holding up the cigarette he asked "I only have one cigarette, do you want to share this with me?"

"No, I think I have one in my pocket" I replied and reached into my pocket and took out a cigarette pack. Luckily I still had one left in the pack.

We lit our cigarettes' and blew out a cloud of smoke and looked straight at the road.

I broke the silence "So you are in the police force?"

"What gave you the idea that am a police guy? The shoes?" he asked blowing out smoke from his mouth.

I smiled and nodded
He continued "Yes, I work for the police force, I have been posted here to keep a check on muggers and pick pocketers"

I replied a faint yes and nodded my head as he continued

"We are living in a cruel world, you will not believe small kids are employed as pick pocketers, and they are the most skilled ones."

I laughed and replied "It would be a shame to get robbed by a young kid"

"Believe me they are the best, you wouldn't even know if one of them robbed you" he replied tapping the cigarette ash

I gave a dry smile and took a long puff of my cigarette.
We stood silent for few minutes smoking the last bit of the cigarette. The policeman's words kept ringing in my ear. I mechanically put my hand on my back pocket.

My face first went expression less when I found it empty. After a minute I couldn't help but smile, the cute young kid had robbed me clean.

The smile stayed on, as the policeman and me waved good bye and parted ways. The heavy rain had now turned into light drizzle. I started to walk towards the main bus stop. I looked around as I walked to see if the kid was still hanging around. The incident kept playing in the mind. My mind was flooded with images of the kid standing and smiling. I felt stupid, but I couldn't help but smile. A couple of hours ago, I couldn't help but frown when my boss gave me a 20% raise and now I smiled when I was robbed clean by a small kid.

I took off my jacket and stood for a minute with my arms wide open, the cold wind entered my shirt and gave me gentle hug. It seemed to comfort me, to play with me. The day couldn't get any better for me.


rajeshwari said...

Good one.. I like the way of your presentation of a story.... Is it a complete fiction or the incident in your life, which happened to come across?, and you have written a story based on that??

keshav said...

thats a real good one...i enjoyed it...i lik hte last para a lot...

Karthik said...

Ha ha.. Nice one, dude. Liked it a lot. Short and crisp. Keep them coming. :)

Harsha Chittar said...

@rajeshwari: Thanks, and it is a complete fiction and not a story based on an incident.
@keshav:Thank you, i like the last para too.
@Karthik: Thanks bro. Personally this is one of my favs. Glad you liked it.