Friday, September 7, 2012

The Gaze beyond 'Beggars'

  It was a habit of passing by that lane every month. . rather every week. It was the 'Sai Baba' temple I used to pay visit to every Thursday in Delhi, Rohini. To attain peace, where else would one be? I recall that the place used to be jammed with diversities of individuals. Punjabi; Marathi; Hindu; Sikh; Tamil . .People across the country used to be there to get a glimpse of Baba. To be in his presence and feel the pure. There was something about that air, the atmosphere I used to get involved in. The melody of drums and barrels, which used to fill our ears with soft harmonies and tunes.

Every week after getting prasad from the priest, I used to walk out towards the exit gate. He used to sit there corresponding to my gaze. Everyweek! Everyday! It was the same boy I tend to look for. He was about 14 years of age, full of energy and fire. There were hundreds of beggars in the lane. In the very same lane, beggars . . as we term them, from different scenarios and from distinct backgrounds were there. Looking at that lane from a distance felt like a ton of people sitting in opposite directions yearning for food. Only food, perhaps just a piece of bread they could feed on. Nothing pleased them, than just an edible material and they would be merrily sitting down, feeding each other from that slight type of food.

Amongst them was that boy. He was about 5'5 in height; short hair; off-white shirt; dark colored skin. He seemed to have the joys of life. The sort of vivacity he had on his face seemed of no cost. He was sitting amongst his family members on the sides of the road outside of the temple. The boy who must have had better days in his life, was now in a sad plight. But he never rendered to the sadness. He was a shining face of positive attitude. Only 14! Yet so intellectual and bright, that I had begun to feel his unambiguous shades. He used to look at me, smile, saying, "Didi, khana de do" (Sister, please give me food) and I used to pour whatever I had cooked in his vessel. It wasn't a ritual to be done with temple ceremonies and provide beggars with food. But it was a hearty emotion which people served them food with. It was more like serving out of no expectations, to fulfill the urge to provide those poor ones with some edible material. For me it in turn was a savor moment. At times, it used to serve as the one and only moment where I could connect them with me or vice versa.

I used to gaze at those 'eyes' of them for prolong seconds. For it used to utter words on the path of silence. Like we individuals who live a normal life carry plenty of descriptions from here and there. In the same way, those beggars' faces' were formed of various water drops, asserting more than what they could admit. As I used to serve them food, their faces were enriched with gaiety. That elation of someone being humble to them was a non-existing thought. For they had learnt to bear humiliation and nonchalant belief of people living on their adverse side of life. Even by being wrapped in two pieces of cloth, those women seemed to be the real beauty faces; without any brush ups and makeup theories. Those visions of them which longed to be us, but they knew the understandings of fate.

I used to gaze at those faces' which were ready at any flash to bless the givers as if they were meant to be divine and a grace for others. I used to gaze at their skin, which was young as ever, than ours which was sulky with the terms of life. Their visions, which were blissful even in the intense phases. And ours how we complain even if our roof starts leaking out of nowhere. Their life which was in the smiles of their kids, and ours which doesn't go beyond texting and smartphones. Their hands which were only divine in some form of blessings. And us, who raise hands not just to assasin, however for corruption and wars. Their heart which is a major giver, for they have nothing to offer yet they smile. And us, being on such lofty heights in life yet can't do charity.
It is like a flash passed by, comparing none and comparing all in one go. Keeping such sets in mind, I wondered, "How could I call them beggars, when they are a lot richer by heart than normal us".

Since then, I have longed to share a moment with them personally. Their stories which are a lot more exquisite than mine. I am hungry for those smiles, for I have not laughed like them since decades. Not because I wish to, but because I want to. They were defined as crazy beggars, yet the only delighted species I would ever know.

 "For only the mad people could be the happiest, and I wish I was in that genre, where I was mad and laughed, to be content. For I laugh hollow now, full of sentiments yet so vacant".

- Latikaa 

© Latika Sareen
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  1. Loved the flow and the essence. If I can comment then let me say you have potential beyond what you believe you do.

  2. Thank you in a bunch for the kind words. Still wanting to explore beyond the belief :)