The old man with a florid face and slow pace was trudging along slowly in a park reflecting the bright sunlight of a breezy wintry day, somewhere in a coastal city. The old man had recently shifted to his son's city of livelihood. With this faltering stage and fumbling age, his flaccid hands were trying to get hold of the wood-coloured wooden stick and his feeble smile was radiating chrome yellow rays – not too dark, not too bright – just the right kind of light. His toothless smile revealed his toothless-ness more, his soiled clothes, in turn, spoke volumes about this helplessness. The grey-ness of his bald head and loneliness of his wrinkled eyes were as clear as this palmistry lines. Luck has left him, so did his youth. Long ago.
It was a Sunday and the park was filled with human laughter and light. Old men walking their usual walks, children playing their usual plays. Few women walking briskly, few men sitting under the tree shade, discussing our democracy fade. Few elderly ladies expressing bits and pieces about their domestic affairs, other older men discussing their despair. Among the mostly familiar bunch of people, the old pair of eyes were searching for the youngest smile. The small artificial pool seemed tree-coloured and the Indian skin human bodies smiling gleefully acting as the stems to the reflections of leaves - dark at some portions, lighter at some - inspired by the shadows formed by sun and their teeth creating an illusion of small white and/or yellow flowers, denoting the onset of spring.
The hawkers selling spiced gram and the hawker selling fruit salad had a different story to tell. Their forehead had a canal of sweat. Probably, the breeze is not meant for people toiling so hard. The hustle and bustle was everywhere – in the lower limbs of toddlers swinging on bars, in the eyes of the young ladies high on life, in the chirping of the tiny birds, in the thuds of the shoes, in the bright rays of the giant bulb in the sky, in the storytelling skills of the old man across the yellow seesaw, in the badminton bats of young boys, in the high-pitch song of the blind beggar, in the false forecast of the fishy palmist, in the crumbling of the copper coloured can collected by the messy rag-picker woman.
Amidst all of this, the old man, helpless and toothless, spotted the baby in perambulator who is not showing much interest in his feeder bottle. The old man met this little ball of cotton one week ago. The baby strolled the park in his comfortable perambulator with his teenage attendant. The teenage attendant liked the old man as he reminded him of his grandfather. The old man, in turn, mirrored his teenage years in the young attendant. Those thirty minutes in the park, each day since last week - both of these men imagined their imaginations at their highest – the young man imagining his dead grandfather and the old man imagining to relive his youth. Wanting a refund for his rejected youth, wanting a reward for the regular repairing he has done to his refurbished life, constantly trying to mend things and pose a smile through thick and thin. Both the men decided to sit on the cemented bench under a tree. It was approximately ten minutes after the conversation started that a middle-aged hawker shouted closer to the bench both of the men were sitting, "Kulfi?"
All of these four men were trapped in the amber of the moment, limited by the limitations of their ages - denoting different life stages.