He hefts the overweight bags onto his right shoulder. Walks ten steps. Pauses for fifteen seconds. Shifts one of the bags onto the other shoulder. Walks twelve more steps. Lowers the bags to the ground. The contents shift treacherously, threatening to spill over on the street. Hurriedly, he picks them up again. Mentally curses himself for having forgotten his cell phone at home. His son would have come running to help had he known. With a long deep sigh, he puts one step in front of the other and starts walking again.
She whooshes past him leaving a strong flowery fragrance in her wake. For a second, he is reminded of the Rajdhani Express that his mother used to tell him stories about. There one second, gone the next. But then she stops and turns around. Looks at him and squints. Like there are gears turning in her head. Silently contemplating. She comes running towards him and asks “Is it okay if I help you carry this to your house?”
“Kids of today, they are so ignorant!” he exclaims heatedly.
“What happened, Aniruddha? What is making you grumble even as you enter the house?”
“This generation, Baba. They know nothing about our culture and religion,” Aniruddha replies as he downs a glass of water and shuffles around in the kitchen.
“What are you looking for?” He asks, following his son around the house.
“The matchbox. I think we ran out.”
“I got us some. I went to the market. Had to buy the monthly stock of groceries.”
“Baba, how many times do I tell you to not go alone? Why carry such heavy bags home?”
“It’s ok, Aniruddha. Bless the girl."
"What girl, Baba? You really need to stop talking to strangers."
"She was a kid, Aniruddha. Must be all of twelve. But she saw me struggling with those bags and offered to carry them for me. Now, what were you griping about?”
“Nothing, Baba. It’s not important. Just call me next time. Now, did you take your medicines?”
That old man reminded me of my Grandpa. I wonder if he has any grandchildren. They say what goes around comes around. I hope someone helps my Grandpa the way I helped this man.
I got chastised today. Severely. How was I to know that while going around Shiva’s idol I am not supposed to cross over the channel? We go around idols all the time. It’s called circumambulation – the going around. Daddy spelled it out for me. Might be helpful for my spell bee, he said. I hope my good deed for the day does not get nullified by this religious infraction. That would be bad for Grandpa.
PS: (It means Post script): I used 2 medium and 2 complex words in today’s entry. That makes the total so far – 47 new words for the bee.