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Harsh Nawal

Drama Tragedy Thriller

4  

Harsh Nawal

Drama Tragedy Thriller

The Serene City

The Serene City

5 mins
30


In the serene city of Calcutta, as the sun lights up the streets,

The steady waves of the Ganges brush the coast, and retreats.

A sweet scent characterises the elixir that you breathe,

The restless clouds try to cover the Sun like a broken sheath.


The bells of Kalighat chime in the distance, asking the Goddess to rise,

The cry to Allah reaches heaven, with belief enough to tear the sky,

The church gongs sound, to call one and all for the morning prayer,

Variant ways they all follow, yet a common 'Supreme' they share.


Right at a place, where all these sweet harmonies unite,

Where the gorgeous Ganges falls perfectly into sight,

Was my home. A three storey building where I lived alone,

But so occupying was my job, that it never let this be known.


Every morning, just as the Sun begins to peek over the skyline,

I walk up, half clad, to the terrace to embibe the feeling, divine.

I look once at the waves and then once at the lustrous sun,

So different are their habits, yet beautifully compliment their fellow one.


I breath in air, deep and long. Toggle my eyes, closed and shut,

Open my mouth to fill my lungs. Gently stroke my hair, neatly cut.

But in all this beauty divine, there was an ugly speck,

I always tried to ignore it but it always nagged my head.


Right infront of my eyes, between me and the beating tide,

Was a street dweller's house, right on the other side.

Although we have never interacted, his sight made me uneasy,

Be it his habits or habitat. Especially his walk, always dizzy.


He was a stone faced man, with an average body and height,

His highly unkept beard left half his face hidden in disguise.

His brown, dry, crinkly hair subtly reached below his collar,

I wonder how he lived his life, for he never begged, not even a dollar.


But calling that 'blanketed footpath section' as a dwelling wouldn't be right,

But it had been that way ever since I had first laid sight.

And there was one unsolved mystery, even after thinking heavy,

Why was he always surrounded by dogs, atleast one, often many.


No matter how helpless he was, no matter how homeless too,

An unnecessary dent he was, in my daily morning view.

I had already passed twelve years living in that stony house,

But unchanging since Day One, was the Sun, the Ganges and that ugly mouse.


           **


I progressed, rather too rapidly, from one rank to another,

From the local sales-in-charge to chief analyst to the zonal director,

I had to travel a lot from city to city working for my enterprise,

But it never felt tiring for the perks and payment were always on the rise.


It was a cold December night, when I received a senior's call,

Who told me his plans to retire back to his childhood city, Aizawl.

And that he had recommended my name to fill his vacant post,

For which I must reach Delhi tomorrow, with urgency utmost.


A dream call it was! A calling for the post of the Regional Head,

I skipped dinner that night and started packing instead,

I was up all night, dreaming and wondering about my pearly post,

So much so, that when the alarm rang morn, I was still deeply lost.


But I got up and got dressed in a smart and formal attire,

Carried my luggage down for I cab already booked a cab on hire,

Having reached the street, I saw a rather unusual sight,

An ambulance stood by the footwalk, surrounded by people from each side.


I left my luggage there and crossed the road, towards the crowd,

Lying on a stretcher was a gentleman covered in a shroud.

"Who passed away dada?", I asked an obese man beside,

"This is the old homeless creature who lived on this footpath outside."


I was dumbfounded. "How did it happen? Tell me more!", I pleaded,

Another gentleman looked at me, and then a sigh he breathed,

"He was a nice man. But had no house or person to help,

Even in such lonely lanes at night, he was all by himself."


"He worked at my cafe at the corner, once daily ay night,

Used to do all the dishes in return for food to satisfy his tummy's plight.

But he never came alone. He always came with these stray dogs."

As he pointed towards the strays who sat quietly breathing like frogs.


"I gave him all the leftovers of the day to feed his hunger,

But he had this unusual habit which always made me wonder.

He'd leave with the packet of food and stand outside my cafe border,

Till the last crumb, one by one fed the dogs, including himself, in order."


"He loved these dogs so much and these dogs loved him back,

Whenever he came or went, they'd follow him down his track.

I don't know how he managed all these days with so less food,

Especially sleeping here in the open, in this weather, crude."


"But he was aging too you see! And that too very fast,

And this chilly night, his pristine soul left his bodily mast.

But ill or old or hungry, there is one thing I must say,

He always did his job so perfectly, as if it was still his first day."


My eyesight seemed dizzy. My mind was painfully numb,

I felt my organs bleed, I could not move my thumb,

I don't know what struck me then, I rushed into my home,

For the first time in twelve years, I'd never felt so alone.


I hardly made my way to my room than I fell down on my bed,

And I felt the pulsation, throughout my body spread.

I thought my heart had torn my chest, as it did deeply throb,

But I couldn't think of anything - neither my state nor my job.


A 'speck' I used to call him, a 'person who made me feel uneasy',

But it was my hypocrite mind which had ne’er made me so queasy.

And through this cloud of shame, I couldn't help but think,

Which of these is smaller - 'my heartless heart' or his 'meaningless means'?


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