Monday, July 28, 2008

The Man By The Road

Noise filled the air, of every kind and at all levels. The high squeals of auto rickshaw horns. The heavy rumble of bus engines, long past their prime. Voices of people crowded any place they could. Dogs barked at a couple cows that wandered a little too close. the cries of crows filled the air, their shrieking voices able to drive a person mad. Foot steps pattered on the side walk, on the road. Noise filled the air.
The faint rattle of metal on metal, no one noticed. Again, the sound came, and again, it went unheard. Lost in the chaos of the street. Or so we thought. One was there who noticed. "Here you go, and don't waste it," plink, slight sound of a falling metal. A rough rasping voice came, "No. ma'am, that is exactly what I will not do," the sound was rough, weathered with time. But the words were smooth, perfectly pronounced. "..." Silence, this was not something to expect. "I... Why is that so?" Again came that rough, aged sound. " If it was not, would you still help me?" "Yes, I would, because I will have given you the chance to change, to start afresh." A loud, rumbling, rattling, noise filled the air as a driver pulled his bus over to the side. And the shouts of the conductor, loud and clear. "Yes, that is a good reason, though I am forgetting our real conversation. My mission, to leave the streets." The shuffle of cloth, the patter of feet. And all of a sudden, there was no separation, no rift, between the two. "Tell me, about this mission, how will you leave the streets?" Plink, came the sound, once again from a passer by. "With this," rattle, came the sound out of the tin. "I have enough now, to pay my debts, and to free myself from the man keeps me here." This was no normal story, not something you hear out of your ordinary man by the road. "I... did not know that your situation was so... different." The traffic. The noise, of the buses, the cries of the shopkeepers, the fall of feet. All this noise, and above it all, came a sound that is rarely heard. "Ha ha ha!" Laughter. From the rough, harsh voice. A laugh that came from the very depth of him. A laughter that had not come forth in many years. "Yes, it is not." When he had finally recovered. "It is good, that I was able to shere my story with you, all these years, I have been foreced to keep my thoughts to my self" "Well, then I am glad that I was able to help." Again, the shuffle of cloth, and the rift was recreated. "I hope that your mission is fulfilled, and that you will see better days."
The sound of feet on the ground, of cars, of men and women, of the animals. The sound of the street, and those who share its life.