Monday, August 4, 2008

Of co-incidences and vagrants

I was just leaving with a friend from near Memnagar fire station at five fifteen pm, when I saw him. He was a vagrant, walking by, without any purpose. He had black, bushy hair and a beard. His face was oily and his clothes were unclean, smeared with mud and dust and other filth. He was walking barefoot in the rain, as if being aimless was his only goal in life. A contrast to all the other people, who were hustling by, in spite of the rain.
I never knew when he came and stood some metres away from me but my instinctive alarm bells soon started ringing. We women always come to know when a male starts staring. He looked at me from head to toe and then started staring lewdly at me with a strange, mysterious smile. I felt irritated at first and then a little scared. I moved some distance away and was glad to see that my friend had started the vehicle. I left the place and I felt relieved, of what, I don't know. That was the end of the story, or so I thought!
Just the next day, I was waiting for a friend who was going to pick me up at the crossroads near Sal Hospital. My friend was late and I was hoping she would come soon. Just then the same vagrant walked by. He saw me and stopped just in front of me. He stared at me and gave that same spooky smile again. I didn't know how to react. I gave him an irritated look but he continued standing there, staring and smiling. I moved away from there and stood behind some rickshaws parked nearby. I hoped he wouldn't follow me. I was cursed my friend for being late.
I heaved a sigh of relief when he crossed the road and walked ahead. Until my friend came there, I kept looking from behind the rickshaw, following his path and hoping I never see him again. My heart was still beating at full speed. It only came to a still when I reached my destination.

I remember his face. And, I think I always will. And his strange, mysterious smile.

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