The old man who walks by
There is that old man who walks by Subarnalata's house every morn. At around seven thirty or eight. At that time Subarnalata would usually remain busy with her works. She would either be fetching water from the road side tap or would be washing clothes.
But that old man.
He would walk by the house.
His figure bent.
His eyes almost closed.
But he would walk without stumbling.
'Adbhut lok...'(a strange man...)
Subarnalata thought every time she would see him walking.
One day, while she was washing clothes she found the man.
It was a beautiful sunny day of spring.
The leaves were whispering songs of love to each other by their rustling.
Subarnalata thought she would call that man and ask him where he would every morn go.
But in such an old age...
Subarnalata looked at the man.
He was simply dressed but not at all beggarly.
He was not a simple morning walker.
For morning walkers usually walk in groups, bantering and laughing and having fun by cracking non aging jokes.
But this man didn't belong to them.
'Is he a very lonely old man then? With none to take care for him?'
'Nah...I would have to ask him...'
So thinking, she called the man who was walking away past her.
'Eijo burobaba...shunchen?'(Hey old father, are you listening?)
As soon as that old man saw her, he smiled.
A candid intoxicating smile.
Subarnalata thought she never had seen such a childish yet pleasant smile.
'Where do you go every morn? Do you just take a walk or just go to work?'
Subarnalata asked the old man in Bengali.
The old man came near her.
He without any hesitation placed her hand upon her head, and said,
'I walk as I love to walk...I live as I love to live...if I will die...I will love that too...'
Subarnalata was amazed.
'Ki je bolen...'( what are you saying...)
'Achcha...are you a saint or something?'
Subarnalata asked again, curious.
'No ...I am a lover...a terrible kind of a lover...I love myself...I got my wife back home...I love her...I got two sons and two daughters...I love them...I got birds and white cottony rabbits , and a turtle and fish in my house , I love them...i love to do gardening...my wife and sons and daughters too, my sons in laws and my daughters in laws too love doing what i do...we live that way...though they got their own works...still we love to spend some time together...i love the locality where i live...i love the temples, the mosques, the churches and buddha temples and gurudwaras, they are there in our locality...all of these places of worship...now that I am talking to you...I am thinking of you just like my another daughter...and I can see your knuckles had blackened...which shows you work hard...I would advise you to take care of them...'
Saying this the old man started walking again.
'But...what you do?'
Subarnalata asked, with her teary eyes.
'I paint and sometimes I write...and sometimes I sing...and sometimes I dance...'
The old man said, and went away.
Subarnalata was looking at the old man and she thought she felt a sudden rise of tranquility in her.
She thought her mind went blank for a few minutes.
She thought she found a strange rise of enthusiasm within her.