14th March 2010
There was something in his eyes which caught me. It made me pause and look deeper into him. Otherwise, he was just another beggar. Those children of the Road whose home is the traffic signal, whose cots are the footpaths and whose God's are those people who have time enough to reach out of their cars and give them a rupee. All of us know what beggars are like. Infact, we have got so accustomed to their sight that we don't really notice them unless there is something out of the ordinary about them, like an extremely disfigured face, or a very uncommon ailment. Your author speaks about such plight with such casualness not because he has a heart of stone but because all that has been taken for granted.
He looked unkempt, long dirty hair, shaggy beard, ragged clothes- in one word, like any beggar. But there was something in his eyes. It wasn't pity, it wasn't grief, it wasn't disgust, it wasn't fear. There was a sparkle in his eyes. Beneath that extremely rugged appearance, sunburnt skin and shaggy beard were two eyes which looked the world with a calmness and confidence of a man who knew the answers. A faint smile teased his lips which told the world that he knew something that they didn't. Like a secret which all could know but were far too preoccupied even to notice.
He stood next to a rail overlooking the lake. The midday sun was glowing red and the water in the lake was placid. I started approaching him and he turned to look at me. I was drawn by the power of his radiance and he looked as if this for him was a common sight. As I etched closer to him, oblivious to all the surroundings, I could feel an aura around him. This outcast who could not earn himself some food was showing me the deepest mysteries of the World. I went nearer and nearer. I noticed his clothes were far too big over his skeletal frame and also that he didn't need none of them to be protected. He did not have to be protected. He was not afraid of anything. Everything around me went eerily quiet and I got lost in the darkness of his pupils. I blinked.
And everything vanished. I was standing next the lake, the burning midday sun making me sweat profusely, I could hear the traffic, the exhaust of vehicles burning my nostrils, the tree infront of me shaking gently thanks to a light breeze. But the beggar was gone. Am I dreaming? Is he God? Am I enlightened? What is wrong with me? I turn back and start walking. Dazed.
I've been reading Gogol lately and like all the Russians I've read before him, I'm loving reading Dead Souls. Looking back, I seem to have used quite a bit of his style in this narrative. I am deeply influenced more by his style than his subject. There is something eerie about the way he writes. Like he is waiting to unleash the biggest surprise of them all. Anyway, so that was it. And, Anirudh, Raghav and Deekshith, this has in no way been influenced by that beggar we met the other day, apart from the fact that I was stimulated to write this after that. Like they say in the movies, this character is purely fictious.