Two days ago I was travelling by my car on a road which was near my old house. There I saw an old man, nearly the age of my late grandfather and he was walking down the street very carefully, clutching a cloth bag.In that cloth bag there was a Hilsa fish, a small cabbage, half kilo of tomatoes, six bananas and two big corn sticks. I was watching him very keenly.He was looking back towards something every few minutes and then would again regain his slow pace.The splashing water from the small mud pools on the road were disturbing him a lot, but he still kept his cool and went on.The rain was falling very heavily and that man couldn’t manage to keep his umbrella over his head. My driver was driving the car and at such a mega traffic jam, turtles do better than cars. I asked my driver to stop the car right infront of the old man. The driver did so and I asked him-“Uncle, where do you need to go?”
He replied-“To my house, which is at so and so locality.”
The place which he was mentioning was double the distance to the place where I was going.I told him that.
He-“Even if you drop me at the next cross road, it would be very kind of you.I would be able manage the rest of the way.”
“Uncle, please get inside the car”-I told him.
“Thank you, son.It was really raining very heavily.”-Him.
“Please, don’t say thank you, uncle.You remind me of my grandfather, whom I love a lot.”
“Driver, please take the car to uncle’s home.”- I told the driver.
“Baarish ka koi problem nahi tha beta.Woh toh roz hi girta hai.Par ek billi mujhe tang kar rahi thi aur mera picha kar rahi thi.Usko machhli ki khusbu mil gayi hogi aur woh mujhe mew mew kar rahi thi.Par jaise tumne gadi ko mera samne rukaya woh bhaag gayi”.
These above lines are in Hindi. These lines translate as- “Rain, is not much of a problem. It falls everyday. But a cat was troubling me and following me.She must have got the smell of the fish and started following me and mewing at me.But as soon as you stopped your car infront of me, she ran away.”
“Thank you, son, may God bless you.I would be able to reach home faster and hand over the fish and the vegetables to my wife, so that she can cook it.”
“Uncle a meal at four in the evening”?
“Yes, a few guests have come from my home town and they hadn’t informed me that they were coming.As there was nothing in the house to cook a meal for them, I came down to this bazaar, to buy the cooking ingredients.”
He showed me the contents of his cloth bag and that Hilsa fish was a truly beautiful looking fish.”
“Why this bazaar uncle? Your locality has a lot of bazaars.”
“But none of them have Hilsa fish in them.”
“Uncle do you like Hilsa fish a lot?”
“Yes, more than my own self. Without Hilsa, not a single big occasion is completed successfully in our household.”
“Are you a Bengali uncle?”
“Yes, I am a very proud Bengali!”
“Uncle, I am a Bengali too”.
Then we had a hearty conversation in Bengali.
Suddenly he tells me-“Do you know my daughter has come home after three years. That’s why I have bought a two kilo Hilsa fish and our platter is never complete without Hilsa fish.”
As he was saying this, we nearly reached his locality, where he lives.
Him-“By the way where were you going?”
I-“I was going to my work”.
Him-“Oh. Can you come to my house at nearly six thirty in the evening?”
I-“Sorry sir, but today my schedule is full.”
Him-“My wife would be cooking this fabulous Hilsa fish and I wanted you to join us at our meal.”
I was very happy to hear him say that.
I replied-“Uncle, thank you for inviting me.I would come by again at a later date and I will tell ma about your invitation and she would be very happy too, hearing it.”
We had reached his home now. As he got down from the car, he shook my hand and he blessed me saying-“May God always keep you and your parents happy.”
As I was writing this post, I remembered that after my own grandfather retired, one day he and ma had gone to the market. While coming back from the market, a storm had started blowing and suddenly my grandfather’s toe got twisted. He was in a lot of pain. Somehow, Ma managed to bring him home. After two hours he left for a place, where he used to freelance printing work.When he came back home in the evening, his leg was as swollen as a child’s football. Ma and my grandmother rushed to him. He couldn’t walk anymore.Ma told him that a doctor was needed to be called immediately and a doctor was called.Later on somebody made him a wood base rubber strap for his injured toe and by using it his toe became quite alright.Till the date till which his legs were not feeble, he used to go to the market only for buying fish and vegetables were of not that much importance.