lush - 2006.09.16: silver springs, ocala, fl

read > writings > short stories > sorry





If there is anything constant in the cosmos, it is the speed of light. If there is anything vibrant in the universe, it is the array of colours portrayed by light. If there is anything omni-powerful in the macrocosm, it is light itself. Blessed are we, that we are gifted with two eyes that knit us to this vast infinite power of truth and beauty. And may God bless those, who are not.

The world is in perpetual commotion; day after day, night after night. Unnatural things happen, and often go unnoticed. Sometimes it seems that these eyes, that open us to the inexhaustible beauty of the world, have become mere sensors that enable us to know who are the prey and who are the birds of prey. But once in a zillion sights, our eyes see something, something supernatural, yet true enough to be seen, pondered over and written about. Sights that are downright earthly yet seem so extraordinary to the human mind.

I stretched out my hand and barely managed to hold on to the already moving bus. It was odd for me to spend almost all my money on a bottle of cold drink, leaving behind Rs. 1.25p only; just enough to take me home in a bus. The ‘Ship of Calcutta’ was quite empty taking into account that it was ten thirty in the morning. I scanned the bus for a comfy seat and succeeded in the attempt. The bus in the meanwhile was on full throttle and charging ahead noisily. I settled down and looked around, and then felt sorry for doing this.

Just in front of me was seated, or rather a little to the left, a little girl with her mother (I assume it was really her mother) holding on to her school bag. Her eyes had said it all. I turned my head away, for the reason that I could not bear to look towards her; I was in quite a good mood and did not wish to feel sorry for her lack of sight. But my mind did ponder over what my eyes had refused to see. I thanked God for giving me the gift of sight. I even thanked him for giving me the ability to hear what was going on in the world. It did not matter, if at that time, I was not hearing the sweet song of a nightingale or the murmuring of a brook. While thinking and thanking, all of a sudden it seemed to me that there was so much to hear in this world, so much. I could hear the honking of a nearby car and the ear-piercing angry complaints made by its driver to the vehicle in front of it, that somehow refused to move on and had stuck on to the road, its engines blurring out all other sounds around me.

But how could any sound ever stop me from hearing that familiar old phrase, used by every begger in the city - "Baba, kichu deen na..." (Sir, please give something). Be it good or bad, but I never gave anything to the poor. After all it was my dad’s hard earned money and how could I give it to someone just like that. And why should I have felt guilty at that time, for not giving anything to him; after all he had more than five-six rupees in the bowl in his hand, whereas I had rupee one and paise twenty five only. I sighed and relaxed into my seat, not feeling a bit guilty for not pitying the poor blind man.

The blind man was groping his way up to the little girl and for an instance I felt I had seen some motion in the girl. Her mother had given something in her hands to which she held on tightly. Yes! The world around me was changing. In a couple of nanoseconds it had metamorphosed into a world of supernatural sights. What do I see! For the first time, in my life I had seen a face so deprived of life, become so full of true happiness in so infinitesimal amount of time. The little girl’s face had lit up and I could almost see an aura around her. Her eyes seemed to say something divine, something godly. Her lips had curled into an ever-so-heart-warming smile and she stretched out her hand to give something. Both, she and the blind man, groped around for sometime, although to me it seemed like aeons; she to give the blessing and he to accept. Never in my entire life had I become a witness to something so heavenly. At that time, it seemed all my sense organs had given their strength, to my eyes, for I could not, but look and look and look at the divinity of the sight.

The man moved on towards me and my hand gave away the little amount of money I had, my legs took me to the entrance of the moving bus and jumped off. I do not know what happened for the next few moments, except that I could hear the conductor of the bus, accusing me of having a free trip on the bus. But my mind was not in a state to think about that. All I could think was why did I do such a foolish thing. Jumping off a moving bus! That could have killed me! And what was the great purpose of giving the bus fare to the blind man for now I would now have to walk all the way home. I definitely could not imagine why did my appendages behaved so unpredictably at that time.

Walking down on the way home, I tried to regain control over my nervous system yet all I could do was feel sorry. Yes, feel sorry. Sorry not for me. Sorry not for the girl. Sorry for the blind man. Sorry for him. I felt sorry for him, because he could not see the smile of contentment that had flooded the little girl’s face then, which I had clearly seen.