Sunday, May 10, 2015

Mr. Khan - A man of this world

Mr. Khan is a man of Mumbai, a man of life and a man of the last age and this passing one too. Life treated him hard so he hardened his heart, but still kept trust in his soul. When his father died, he left college to take up the mantleship of a beard earner, all because his elder brothers were not willing to. He worked hard, a bit of this, a bit of that, learning his skills and eventually, setting up a small shop somewhere in Mumbai. With his small salary, he supported his mother and other family members and ensured they were fed, clothed and well. He took up his father’s job, while his brothers abandoned him. He left his dream of becoming a doctor, shed of his childhood and took up a job in the real world. It was tough, but with grit, a few good friends and unexpected help, he made it through.

However, Mr. Khan’s true love never went out of his sight, his love for education. When the business was set up and running well enough, he got back to college and went through a series of learning processes. From graduation, his thirst could not be sated and so he went on to finish his post-graduation. His did his BSc, an economic course and a few others too.

Then, he became the educator himself. To the Mumbai University he went to become a lecturer. As he poured in his heart and effort into the job a realisation dawned on him – that most students don’t care. They don’t want to study and they don’t know what to do in life. “Rather, they should get married”, he laments. That single line gives a look into an archaic thought of another age.

How many times have students come to him in the middle of the day, or at the end of the evening, all asking to be passed in their exams? The honest truth is that he couldn’t pass them even if he wanted to, one cannot mark a blank paper.

You may find Mr. Khan traversing through Mumbai with his hat on and a tuff on beard spread across his face. He has grown tired of his students who waste their money away dreaming and sleeping in his classes. Now, he resides in his shop, just living life and often… wondering what could have been and what will be. 

Sunday, May 3, 2015

The Apologetic Old Man

He moved cat-like because that’s how you needed to flow when getting onto the bus. Little did our protagonist know that today was a day of old men. He leaped in, his broad shoulders fighting for space amongst other commuters. It was a tiring day of sitting in the office, going through documents and typing things out. One never realises how tired you get, until it’s time to return home, until it’s time commute.

The red bus was crowded as always. Our protagonist made his way through the crowd, shoving his body through the thin spaces and little gaps. Some people grunted and hissed out loud, others bore the grievance in silence, it was just the way of traveling. There were no empty seats, so he stood there by a crowded side. The bus, as always was a jerky one, it went over bumps, the brakes constantly creaked and not even minute passed by when it didn’t jerk.

The bus finally passed a main junction and made its way across. People got up, there was more shuffling and a line formed to exit the bus at the next stop. A seat got empty and our man moved in like a predator to take the seat in the hopes of having a relaxing ride till the end of his journey. However, just as his foot moved in, a tap was felt on the shoulder. A glance behind revealed an elderly gentleman with his thick white beard and sparsely populated bald head.

Silently sighing to himself, the protagonist stepped aside and let the man sit. A grin spread across his white bearded face and he gave out a thanks.

For the most part, the journey passed uneventful, until the elderly gentleman realised that he wasn’t sitting in a Senior Citizen Reserved Seat. Immediately, he started apologising. He assumed it was a Senior Citizen seat that he had taken. In fact, the senior citizen seat was right in front of the one he sat on, so it was easy to get confused.

Awkward is not the right word to use… odd would be a better description. Our protagonist felt odd every time the elderly gentleman turned his head and apologised.  

It was an odd journey of an apologetic elderly gentleman who was trying to figure out a Bus Reservation system.