I tend to be extremely myopic in terms of life. That I can't see beyond a certain point, I acknowledge. So I be within constraints. I don't see myself anywhere in the next 5 years, like they ask in job interviews. I don't see myself anywhere. I used to keep a vague imagery of myself at 40. But that's slowly fading. Pictures, we can't afford. Sometimes, just merely being, maintaining a decent status quo, is such a struggle. Breath sucking, blood curdling struggle. I had foreseen myself at this age that I am now, but when it's for real, it's nothing like that, actually. It keeps getting more and more disappointing. Because of the cages I built inside my head. And prefer to stay, incarcerated.
There is an old man. He must be in his seventies. He wears a washed out dhoti and carries a huge sack of mudhi (puffed rice, for the uninitiated) on his head and climbs up four flight of stairs. He calls out in that shrill voice, he addresses the women in the houses as mothers, they may be less than half his age. And asks who wants mudhi. He also sells those balls of mudhi rolled in sweet jaggery. Golden looking delicious balls. He would arrive sharp at 9:30 almost on all week days. And that is the most chaotic time of the day for me, I would be swallowing an unchewed breakfast, in the self immolating shame of being late for work. The old man would ring the bell, I would open and shut the door within the span of a few seconds, refusing, caring not if we had enough mudhi or not.
In afterthought. I would wonder. If I should have given him some money, just for taking all those stairs. I never did that though.
Last Monday, I was taking a break, for several reasons. Life can get too much you know. I realized I was getting nowhere despite all the running and all the 9 o'clock chaos undertook daily. So I felt like showering in the evening for a few days, instead in the morning. I felt like being myopic all over again and took those days off.
So, last Monday, I was there when the old man rang the bell. I was. I bought those delicious balls of mudhi rolled in jaggery.