0 The beggar

The post retirement life of my Papa is no more the same in Gorakhpur, where he spent 35 years of his life working for Indian Railways. His daily routine has been changed now, of course on a good note. Now he spends on an average two hours in our kitchen garden which is almost four thousand square feet the sufficient enough to keep him busy regularly. The appearance of green plants of cauliflower, cabbage, bringal and reddish gives him more satisfaction than the prospective harvest itself. He tries to have a nap in the afternoon. Lunch time has been advanced to 11:30AM, beyond which he browses different news channels before hitting the bed for a afternoon nap. Most of us overheard from my Mom that it was better when he was regularly going to office blaming to unpredictable and untimely demand for a cup of tea. 

It was 29th of September 2013. Lalu Yadav was already found guilty and quantum of punishment was yet to be announced. Papa was browsing different news channels in search for an analysis of his interests. It was probably 01:00PM and Maa was in other room. My youngest brother having business of video surveillance in Gorakhpur was visiting Bangalore. Thus we all three brothers were in Bangalore. Maa was not anticipating any demand from anyone. 

She was feeling lethargic in her bed room. Someone knocked the main door. Anticipating that Papa would not do it Maa went on to open the door. It was a sixty year old man. He told my mom that he was hungry for last 48 hours. His effort of brining tears in his eyes were of no use as he was too weak to display tears. He asked for a Roti in his feeble voice. Maa and Papa already had finished lunch. Maa told the beggar to wait and went inside the kitchen to see if something was leftover for this beggar. She could find only few Rotis but it was not in good hygienic condition. She prepared a cup of tea and went outside. Papa was completely aloof from the sequence of events. Maa offered him tea and told him to wait. The beggar prayed again, "maalkin I am hungry for last 48 hours, please give me something to eat." Maa assured him to give something to eat and told him to wait further.

Maa was emotionally charged. She decided she will cook for him. She opened the refrigerator. Few slices of Paneer was there. She cooked Paneer-chilli and Kheer. Subsequently she prepared a dozen of Purees. She went outside and gave that begger to eat. My father now observed my Mom taking Puree-Paneer-Kheer combo to outside. When he came out he could see the beggar eating like a feast. Papa looked at the beggar. He gave an impression to Papa that it was not his mistake. Papa responded with a gesture that yes, he knew it was not his mistake and only Maa could do it. Then he went inside and brought water for the beggar.

Beggar ate nicely. He thanked my mom and subsequently to my father. He wished all good things for my parents. There was no blessing which was not recited by him. He moved on contended and satisfied. A dull and lethargic afternoon was already turned into an eventful moments. Afternoon nap was not required to rejuvenate my Papa. He called me and narrated the entire story. It was so satisfying for me. I felt there could not have been better week-end news from my parents. 

After a while I realized something and called my mom and asked her, “Maa, by the way! do you know which cast that person belonged to”. My mom lived always in conservative brahmin society where cast, creed, community are still the bitter realities which has been practiced and maintained religiously. She never had a university education. She replied to me, “बेटा, आखिर ओहो मनुखे छलय ओकरा खुआ के आत्मा तृप्त गेल. आइ धरि एतेक आशीर्वाद किओ नइँ देने होयत: My dear son! he was indeed a human being (humanity was his cast). I am ever satisfied. No one has ever blessed me like him." 

I was speechless.

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