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The Sock

April 1, 2013 8 comments

There was a sense of belonging here that he missed.

It was a mad frenzy of the cabs whooshing past, the hawkers howling their wares, hustle and bustle of the maddening crowd, the uncaring pace of people going about their lives and  then it was him. Being lost in the middle of nowhere, he felt most at home. Only if home meant this much of solitude. It was yesterday he had received the news.

 He was struggling, jumping with a shoe on one of his legs trying to find out where the other pair of his sock was. The tea was almost done and had he not hopped his way in the kitchen, he would have had to come back later in the evening to the task of clearing the stove of the brown filth that would have overflown. He glanced quickly into the window to check if his pick up had arrived. The cabbie had always been on time, if not before. Having one eye on the clock ticking morning minutes, he crouched under the sofa to find luck with the missing sock. “Fuck fuckety fuckin fucker!!” he winced as a blank floor stared back at him. He again hopped into the kitchen and filtered the tea in a mug. Before he could take a sip out of it, his cell rang. “Fuck!!” he cursed and thought how crazy that the cab had to come at that very instant. He reached for the cell in his pocket and took it out only to see his boss on the line. This meant bad news. “I am sorry kid. They have pulled the plug. It’s a no go.” The line was silent for almost a minute. “Umm hmm..I understand. Thanks for sticking out for me sir” he muttered. “Sure. Take care kid”. Click.

He walked his way in the kitchen. He emptied the mug in the sink and took out a glass. There was some Blenders remaining from a few days back. He poured all of it in a lone glass and sunk some ice cubes in it. He removed his shoe with his other toe and angrily threw it off in the kitchen itself. He took a quick sip and sat the glass down on the window sill. He removed his pants and tossed them carelessly on the floor. Reaching for his laptop on the table, he went in the Pink Floyd folder and queued a song after cranking the volume to the full. He sat in his boxers and fresh white ironed shirt and tie with a sock on one leg on the window sill holding the glass in his hand. As Roger Waters began with “Remember when you were young…”, he stared out the window.

An urchin was shouting loudly selling his toy phones. Frail body, a torn and a muddy vest, khaki half pant and disheveled hair only gave an appearance that undermined his salesman skills in a humongous manner. With the sun heaving its wrath at 43 degrees, the kid stood barefoot with only the largest of smiles on his face. They had evicted him a thousand times, may be more. But he always came back. With that same smile. Going by the marks on his face and his back, one could easily make out that the kid had been beaten hard and beaten blue not a long time from now. And yet here he was. Making an honest buck selling toy phones on the street while the ‘other’ kids his age squabbled over which smart phone app was best to do the nothing which never mattered to nobody. And yet this rusty little gem of a kid would fight his pain to come sell toy phones.

 As the last of the few drops of Blenders fired his throat, he took a hard look at the kid. He made it up in his mind to go buy a toy phone. But it had to wait for today. He wouldn’t step out for a minute nor would he lower the volume in spite of what the ‘family’ crowd of the ‘society’ would say today. Pink Floyd marooned him and he fell in a slumber to only be awake the whole of that night.

Come next morning, and he was on the street, searching for his savior – the urchin. He, who defied pain, who smiled when beaten, who only knew to smile and earn his honest buck. Who fought for his survival and who inspired him to believe. To believe and to live. He went today to go buy that toy phone. There was a sense of belonging here he missed.

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