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Thursday, December 15, 2011

small man in The Big City


      He was a small man in The Big City. The city of joy, of hope. But, unlike the majority of success stories produced by The Big City, he hadn't run away from home to chase his dreams. Though he lived in and contributed to the much celebrated diversity of The Big City, he wasn't enchanted by its glamour. Given an option he would never have left home. For, he still dreamed only of the vast fields, the chirping birds and the butterflies.

      He was a man forced by circumstances. Circumstances that were beyond his control, and understanding. He wished that he breathe his last, whenever it be, at his "home". But, for now, he had to be content with The Big City.

      Life in The Big City wasn't the easiest. Each day brought in its wake a new challenge. He was skilled and learned, but as was the rule, had to do whatever came by just to ensure that he survived to see the next day and hope that someday he would be able to go back to "home".

      He utterly despised the daytime in the big city. For one, it was too noisy, too hot, too sultry. For a man brought up in nature's lap the pollution was unbearable.

      The Big City didn't sleep either. But the night brought him some comfort. Laying down, he would gaze at the sky, something that he had been doing ever since he was a child. The moon was the same, the sky was the same, so were the constellations. It would make him feel that he was at home. That, perhaps made the rough pavement feel like the soft, tender, comfort of home. That gave him hope that all was not lost. And this at the end of a tiring day would give a sleep of satisfaction and the capacity to begin his day afresh the next morning.

      There is an old saying, "Every dark cloud has a silver lining!" He had perhaps not heard of this saying. None the less, it is of least significance. That night was different. He lay on his "spot", gazing at the sky as usual. Hours passed  by, but there was no sign of sleep. He too was feeling more excited than usual. For some reason, his face was shining brighter than the moon. He was a very straight man and rational too, but that night he took the liberty to dream. And he dreamt with his eyes open. He dreamt of the possibilities and the opportunities that future lay in its folds for him. He dreamt of reuniting with old friends and family. He dreamt of finally fulfilling the promises that he had made to some specials ones. The period of suffering was over, good times were to begin. More importantly he dreamt of returning home.

      He had met a man, no he wasn't a man, he was an "angel". Infact, everyone in The Big City referred to him as an "angel". The angel had offered him a job and if his mathematics were even fairly good, he would be heading back home in no less than six months. For over six years he had dreamt of returning home,and now he would be there in six months. He had lost count of the number of days on end he had gone empty stomach, and the number of times so, so that he could save some money. He also forgot of the innumerable rains and floods he had to brave. That, for him was now a mater of past. They were now events, the stories of which he would narrate to his grandchildren. He had survived all that.

      Fate had played a tricky game with him. First, it had taken it all away from him. And now he was going to get it all back, in a way that he had never imagined. For him it was all too good to be true.

      As he lay gazing at the black star studded sky, he felt the darkness being replaced by light. A light, growing in its intensity. A light so powerful, that it almost blinded him. It took him a moment to regain himself. Emerging through the haze of the bright light flashing on his eyes, he felt he saw a face. The face of the "angel" - his hair was all shabby, eyes were droopy and red and blood shot. He seemed to be possessed. The small man was cofused. He raised his small hand, whether to see clearly or to wave, we do not know. The lights advanced on him with such urgency, that he could not finish his action. He felt contact. His dreams played on in a corner of his eye and in the other was an element of surprise and confusion. Even before he could realise what was going on, there was a brief blast of light -the brightest he had seen till day and then, an endless darkness that ensued.

      The headlines next day reported of the Big Man in The Big City having driven his vehicle over six small men in The Big City sleeping on the pavement, crushing them to death. A thousand other small men in The Big City had assembled, neither to mourn nor condemn the loss of their brethren but to provide solace to The Big Man "angel" in The Big City.

      Fate had indeed played a tricky game.

      He was, finally, just a small man in The Big City.



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