Joke is fine, but life is not a joke, said actor Sunjay Dutt once. Yes, no humour in this post.
Outside our flat in Chennai was a huge garbage bin, with trash all around except inside it, thanks to residents’ “wonderful” civic sense.
I came out of my house along with my wife and instantly glanced at this man sitting on a heap of garbage. He must be merely in his 20s, did not wear any shirt and bore a hungry look. He had a stale bread in his hand and his eyes stared blankly at me. The pants were torn; the hairs messy. Let me not say more. You can surmise.
My impulse struck. I checked my pocket and picked a Rs10 note spontaneously. There was no emotion in him when I offered it. It was just like a piece of dead paper.
I moved on.
Two days later, when I came down from my third floor flat, there was a crowd near the bin.
There’s a small temple across the road managed by an old woman.
“He is dead. We informed the corporation and they just picked his body up. I tried to give water but it was too late,” the woman told me in a sad tone.
Dead? Body picked up?
Is it not the duty of corporations and politicians to pick humans alive and protect them instead of waiting for them to die and send their bodies for research?
“If one man goes to bed without food, let’s burn this earth,” the powerful words of Tamil poet Bharathi reverberated in my ears.
“I have let you down brother,” I told myself.
The tear that dropped when I recollected the incident while in the bathroom yesterday is a tribute to that unknown soul.