Finding a father...away from home...

he looked at the man's face
Cobwebbed...
Crowfeet at eyes
A bamboo stave...
"are you a painter?"
The man asked...
him...
he was sipping tea...
By the road
The day had been such a beauty...
The cars...the buses..
Busy plying fast...
And the people
Stopping and moving
gently...
They seemed...

And the breeze
Somehow managed to play...
Through those concrete...
Spring had come to the city late
But came she...
In shapes city like...
Holiday packages pasted bright...
Vacations...tours...
Movie tickets flying in the wind...
And shadows of scarce trees
On pavements falling still...
On dices of floors...
On railings hanging precarious
Still
Spring had come...
For she deprives none...

"are you?"
The man asked again...
Sitting comfortably on the bench...
Wooden ...
One leg crossed over
Another...
Simply dressed...
A dhoti white...
A pinkish loose garment...
And a bag...slinging type
Rested on his lap...a few paint brushes peeping out...

'na...
i am here for a work...
But why?'
he asked taking another sip...

"o...me thought you were...
For you looked with eagerness
The moving lair
Of shapes...the people...the cars...
Painters tend to do that..."
Saying this the man stood up...
Straight...
Paid the chaiwallah...
And took the street...

he stared at the man's receding walk...
Straight towards the circle...
Where some people were seen from a distance...
Sitting and talking...
On the brick wall...
Dangling their legs...

The man did not look back...

he finishing the cup of tea
Asked the man at the counter
'how much for a cup of tea and a biscuit?'

'you need not to pay sir...
That old man walking away...
he paid up for both you and him...'

The man...chaiwallah smiled...

'but...'
he was so surprised...
'yes...that man...we know him...for he paints on city's abandoned walls at night...
We love him...
And he had confided to me
While paying up the bill
That your face resembled his son's...'
The chaiwallah explained hurriedly...
And started pouring tea from kettle into rows of glasses neatly arranged...
Customers were coming in...
Tea break at office lane was on...

'o...where his son now?'
he asked...
'he had died last year...
Right here...
At this spot...
While crossing the street
Unmindful...
he was young...'

he stood surprised for a while...
The man old with bamboo stave and a bag full of paint brushes had gone...
he could not find him in the crowd...
But the light springy breeze
And the thin shadowy feel
Were there still...

he thought of running towards the circle...

And then he looked at his motorcycle...
he rode on...
Towards the circle...

'a son must try to find his father...
If he is a true son...'

he thought
And Father Mackenzie's face
he remembered...

he went from first to third gear...
In quick time...
Zigzagging...
he was in a terrible hurry...
Was he not?

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