As I was walking away from him, his words echoed in my ear. I was overwhelmed, my eyes swelled up and a tear rolled down my cheek. Suddenly everything became evident to me. I can’t I can’t do it any more…
Today was a really busy day at work and after that, I had to go to my Dad’s office because of some emergency. There I had a really heated up conversation with him regarding some matters (including my passion), but eventually the conversation turned pleasant and useful, also some important decisions were made. So I was really pumped up when I left their in search of my random stranger.
The place I chose for today’s encounter was Veli Tourist Village, which is a really beautiful beach side attraction (one of my friends wedding video instances were taken here). I got a bit lost on my way, but soon enough I reached the destination. When I saw the sign board I confirmed my arrival. Picked a good spot to park my bike and took the ticket from the counter, the lady who gave it to me seemed really depressed though(anyway i smiled at her).
As I entered through the gate I could see that the place was packed with people. On my way through the garden I could see several sculptures, which made absolutely no sense at all making me wonder, what kind of idiot could have made this( just kidding guys he would probably be a genius or something). So watching the children on the swings, the beautiful ladies on the benches and some squirrels who were busy fighting over a nut, I continued walking.
In front of the floating restaurant I found the head piece of that ugly sculpture which was near the entrance(this was getting weird, why did the artist decapitated the sculpture). And there was a North Indian family who were struggling to get a , complete picture of them all. So as I was passing by and because of the resolution we took yesterday, I offered them my help and took some nice pics, they were really happy.
As I proceeded, I could see the beach at a distance and it was getting harder to walk through the sand in sandals. So I took them off and strapped it on my bag(I thought it was cool but to be honest, I was looking stupid guys lol). I reached the beach and was clicking some pics and searching for my random stranger. As I was looking at some children flying kites, I saw him.
He was sitting there alone with shrugged shoulders and his eyes were so red that it resembled the setting sun. I didn’t waste any time and walked towards that stranger, when I reached near him, I asked whether he there was alone(which was so obviously btw). My question startled him and his bloody eyes were now staring at me. I was absolutely sure that something was not right, I quickly checked for scent of alcohol but there was none so that I could eliminate one major reason to his state.
He was in his 60’s but looked much older. I started talking to him and he was really polite but had a stern attitude (his voice was really deep). As our conversation continued, I told him about my dream and how I am a part time writer(he didn’t know what a blog was). He told me that he was a fisherman since he was a child and that he has never traveled outside Kerala. Now he was opening up a bit. So I continued with my verbal tantrum to know in depth of what kind of a person he was.
I told him that I was sensing something wrong and asked him whether everything was alright. He didn’t answer at first but as you know how persuasive I am. I continued poking until he spilled it. He was sad indeed, he was sad because his wife had a tumor, he was neck deep in debt and since he was ill he couldn’t work. His only son who works at the post office was the only bread winner of their house.
Hearing all these things I was dumbstruck. There was nothing in his life that was worth living for(no wonder he was crying). But I collected my thoughts quickly and continued, I asked him about some of his achievement to which he said, there is none. Now this time I knew for a fact that he was wrong. So I asked a series of questions to him that would reveal all his achievements. And I was right.
I told him that even though you were poor, you managed to raise 2 of your children without them knowing any of the struggle. You gave them good basic education, married off your daughter and even if it is a hut, you have managed to keep a shelter over their heads for this long. If these are not achievements then what are they. I could see his face brightening up a bit.
I added that for what its worth, you have a beautiful family that loves and care for you, which a lot of people can only dream of. Now he seemed a bit happy so I ask him about his life experiences and the answer I got sewed my mouth shut again (I just had to ask huh). He told me that his entire life was a series of tragedy. His first wife had an affair with his best friend and was cheating him for a long time.
When he found out this he was furious and stabbed his friend 5 times(god damn it). Luckily the sucker survived but was paralyzed and died a few years later. He didn’t go to jail because of the lack of evidence(luck cannot get any better than this i guess). After that he remarried and the story continued. The advice he gave me was,” It doesn’t matter how much close your friendship is with some one, never let them in on your personal/love life, if you do you will regret it later“.
Now the sun had set and the beach was empty, except for some fishermen playing cards and some dogs running around. When I looked at him his face seemed a lot calmer and as a closing statement, I asked him whether he wanted anything from life now. His reply was that, he just wanted to die a peaceful death. I didn’t say anything in reply as he was confident in what he wanted and just gave him a smile of understanding. Before leaving he Invited me into his hut to which I politely declined as it was getting late.
He asked me to come back anytime and that he would be happy to see me again. I promise him that I will return and slowly started walking through the beach. As I was walking back I felt at peace inside and was radiating positive energy. I clicked some more pics and just as I was exiting the gate I saw a crippled man waking away from the gate. I stopped and looked at him for a minute.He was moving at a really slow pace.
Now visualize this guys, he was around 55 years old, completely trimmed hair and beard(white color). Both of his legs lacked the capacity to hold his weight, so he was dragging them one by one, his face had a huge scar and had a tilted jaw. His clothes were dirty, old and his head was twitching to the right at times. Even though I never take pity on any one, I sincerely felt bad for him. So I approached him and enquired whether he needed some help. He replied nonnon ththaank yououu, yes you guessed it right guys he had speech impairment.
I noticed one thing though, he was smiling when he said that. I felt like talking to him so I decided to walk him to his house. As I walked along side him, he asked me who I am and what I was doing there(it was really hard to understand and he had to repeat it a number of times, but I did my best to listen carefully). I was glad that he asked, I told him my name and explained to him about my passion.
He smiled at that and said, once he had a son like me and that he was not like this before. As cars was passing by us and dogs barking at the cars, I was looking at him with my complete concentration trying to understand what he was telling. I had to repeat after him to make sure what he was saying.
He said that he was once a lifeguard at Kovalam Beach, he had a wife and a kid. One day when he was going with his family to watch a movie and they met with an accident. An over speeding car crashed into their scooter and that was the end of his happy days. His child died on the spot and he was paralyzed from neck down with a shattered jaw, for a long 4 years he was like that. During which his wife(who escaped with minor injuries) left him and remarried. Now all he has got is an elder brother with whom he is currently living.
8 years has passed now and with continuous therapy, he could barely walk now. I noticed that my heart rate was at its peak now, just from imagining the kind of agony that he went through. I felt a bit weak from my knee down. I wanted to speak but I couldn’t. During the course of the entire conversation we would have moved about 30 meters. He told me that my folks would be waiting for me and I should go now.
Before leaving I asked him, If you are in such a bad condition then why were you sitting outside the park gate. To which he replied that “the only thing which is keeping him alive is the smile of the children walking out of that park with their parents”. It was like a blow to my heart. I thanked him for the conversation and told him that I will comeback.
As I was walking away from him, his words echoed in my ear. I was overwhelmed my eyes swelled up and a tear rolled down my cheek. Suddenly everything became evident to me. I can’t I can’t do it any more, I can’t pretend to not see the dark side of our world. I cant pretend to not care, I can’t be one of those selfish jerks that the society has manufactured, I will never be one of them.
Today I promise to myself that I will change the world no matter what. I will educate them and build a better future. This is my solemn swear.
I’ll start from here Trivandrum, then Kerala, then India. I want to make our Nation Great again. Even if it take my whole life, I don’t care. I don’t know how I am gonna do it but this is my dream and I will do it.
To my dear readers, i’ll continue to share my thoughts and help you make better decisions, the only thing I ask for in return is for you to find happiness in what you do and to follow your passion.
This is Karthik Surya signing out…