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A sonorous tremor had just caked the air of the bustling town of Delhi. Its source very much distempered, and that of a man clearly knowing no boundaries. Repeatedly these disruptions occurred; repeatedly they were going unnoticed by all surroundings. This was routine; evident in the stolid faces of the locals. A few hundred meters from the beating heart of the city, a disgruntled man looked to be the problem. One of the few select people who can easily be judged of their personality from mere features; eyes stabbing out of the sockets, eyebrows eternally crinkled, and a paramount, upright stature that no other man dare imitate. Neat, combed hair and posh designer clothing showed hygiene of the highest class. The victim cowering before him seemed to be his paradox. Disheveled clothing stained his appearance, yet his guileless caricature triggered pity in the people that walked by him.
“Please sir, my mistake, I will do better.” Kishore begged as he desperately clung onto the man’s feet.
“Shut up. It is twice now that I have told you, dust my house with the utmost care, or you will be kicked out onto the streets! I do not and will not tolerate loafers in my household, understand?” Mr. Saxena spat with bitter resentment, as if cherishing the biased fracas.
“Yes sir. Please sir, I need this job for my family.”
“Come back tomorrow 7 AM sharp.” The man declared, brimming with disgust.
This ugly spectacle was but a taste of the local Delhi hubbub, in which those who rule it rule with arrogance. Those who are its subjects are victim to its horrid display.
The next day was a hopeful day for the poor man, his state of mind fully recuperated. Humility forbade him to hold grudges, and innocence taught him to dream. As Kishore walked into the hectic streets, the warm breeze and shine of the sun gave him confidence. The cacophonous hymn the cars composed gave the starting day a new image, a new start. A start that gave the man a reason to live and to love. Kishore needed money more than ever; filling his family’s belly was the one thing swimming in his mind. His family consisted of two loving children, each sharing the same innocence that defined their father. His wife had seen the bitter reality of life; her body abused as a youth, and had not had a full stomach for as long as she could remember, fusing a conservative state that never lit off. Though she had learned to trust her husband when they were forced to live together, a marriage never budded, but a friendship as strong as any blossomed between the two. The value of friendship is lightly taken to many, yet the two cherished it as a mother holds a tender baby to her breast. They looked after the newborn friendship, and allowed for it to grow; intertwining one’s dreams and aspirations to set a new foundation for a family. For their family, which they so eagerly anticipated. Two children were produced, each equally gaining a mother’s love and a father’s support.
Kishore was not earning as much as his dreams had sufficed; a crisis infamous to molding families. Respect was sacrificed each day as both father and mother hopped through numerous occupations, occasionally resorting to begging. In the midst of the whole chaos that destitution laid in store, a tightly knit affection had stitched its way through each family member, bonding them eternally. However poor the circumstance, the children would watch the same angelic smile and a twinkle in their mother’s eyes as they slipped into dreams every night. Even when day after day of grueling 14-hour labor work attributed to an injury, the children never had to beg to hear their favorite nighttime story. Being devout Hindus, the family found solace only in the peaceful temples, where they learned to love the Gods and themselves. The occult hymns of the temple cast a spell on the family, for they forgot their hardships and knew only Krishna and His affectionate ways.
His tragic life, however, was void of meaning to the affluent politician, Mr. Rahul Saxena, who he struggled to work for. The impoverished left him with a bitter taste, and sought not to meddle in their affairs.
“Why do we help the poor at all? They have been spoon fed and made a fool of to the world. Society has gifted us a model of ignorance and failure. By upholding that gift, we must show the citizens what they must not allow themselves to become.”
He wrote in a letter to his most trusted advisor. But he had taken advantage of this as if an innocent woman; the clothes of restraint torn off, and all virtue lost. It very well seemed that every aspect of his misconstrued life seemed to accent his reliance of fear and pure ignorance. Mrs. Saxena had left him long ago, and for good reason. His alcoholic refuge constantly intoxicated not only his system, but his state of mind as well, soon affecting others’ well being. With every blow—either emotional or physical, she realized it had been a blow too many; and solitude was her only escape. His mother had shared the same fate; lying as fresh meat to his abusive father. He knew full well of his mother’s pain, yet his love for his father—who taught him everything he ever needed, he ever wanted, was impenetrable. Achieving this, he embodied his father; whether it had a negative tenor or not, he became him nonetheless. The one weakness that defined his father he tried to avoid developed in him; colossal greed. Greed and corruption bound together and built up inside of him, relinquishing all honesty and integrity. Mr. Saxena believed in no god, only in himself. He liked the suffering of others; it gave him a sense of power and invincibility. Clawing and betraying every step of the way to wealth was his path of enlightenment, envisioning himself as the saint of saints. Mr. Saxena in short was insidiously practical, looking to absorb off every ounce of authority from the frail individuals that lay victim in his cruel hands.
Mr. Rahul Saxena looked to outperform Atlas of the Heavens, holding the burden of all the people that he governed on his bare shoulders. A sudden jitter shook his body, dusting off the burden, producing his own worry and thought into the equation. After the scolding yesterday, Mr. Saxena never once doubted his judgment, it was a scolding well deserved. People who accept their place and purpose in society learn to respect those who are higher up, he thought. Being a man of action more than thought, he quickly shrugged it off and carried on with the next day. The house that he inhabited was the best that bribery and threat could buy, containing 4 floors and a dazzling garden tended by exactly 5 miserable gardeners. He smiled as he saw his servants hard at work.
With a sudden disapproval, he whistled informally to a frail servant watering the healthy flowers.
“Where’s Kishore,” Spoken more of as a statement rather than a question.
“Don’t know, haven’t seen him sir.”
“What do you mean haven’t seen him? What is the time?”
“Bastard…” He muttered furiously. “Well? What are you staring at? Go!”
The morning proved average in the eyes of Mr. Saxena, another day to “further inquire about the mindless struggle our people confine themselves in”, as he put it. The sun cast an aggravating glare in his eyes, and the humid air strangled him. Despite his all white appearance, perspiration had built up and fastened his clothes tightly to his skin, weighing his whole appearance down. Adding to his soggy attire, his melancholy manner made others suspicious of his activities. He stared viciously back at them, as if killing their gaze. When in the process of filtering out the boisterous on goings of the city, he noticed a horde of locals gathering to the busiest intersection. Someone, or something, was attracting people exponentially, and the opaque speech of the faraway crowd added to the confusion. The whole world seemingly halted with great force, leaving the residue of uncertainty and chaos. Mr. Saxena nosily gathered around the crowd of the baffled peoples. In between the bodily crevices he noticed a badly contorted body and a puddle of red combining with the dirt on the street. As the ambulance came with bursts of urgency, they handled the body and remains with utmost care. Mr. Saxena stared in awe as he saw the bloody outline of his servant, Kishore, being hurried into the back of the ambulance. As if smite by the Gods themselves, Mr. Saxena hadn’t moved the slightest, even when the crowd went their separate ways. Even when the world seemed to go back into its original rotation. Even when the recent happening in the streets of Delhi was long forgotten and soon a matter of the past, he did not budge. Go to his family, a voice urged with great intensity, over and over. Go it enjoined, this time louder than ever before, desperate to be heard. With every mechanical step he edged toward the remote village aside from the lively city of Delhi.
Its humble brother, the village, consisted of a mere 20 hut-type architectures scattered about. The huts were sloppily constructed, with no concern of design or decoration. Even its utility had to be questioned, as the plastic sheets seemed to be withering by the weakest of gusts. A few feet away, Kishore’s wife beat their ragged clothes dry on top of an aged rock. Her rustic beauty did not match the setting, even as it was smothered dirtily on her radiant young face. A sharp, reserved face that was scarred by hard work and hunger. As Mr. Saxena came to her, she reflexively took a couple steps back, instantly reaching her children as if she already knew. With many calming gestures, Mr. Saxena described the situation as best he could, still stuttering from the shock of the incident. Her tears came in short intervals, and then started to flow like a sinuous river, drenched with sorrow. The children were left puzzled as they watched their emotional mother; naturally they too started to wail. With great difficulty he led the family into the hospital, the labyrinth of suffering and death. Kishore had been struck by a car, struck by the bitter truth of reality. The reality that allows for the rich to die peacefully on luxurious beds, while the poor die cold, wrapped in the clothes of shame.
Mr. Saxena noticed in the inert hands of Kishore was a bloodstained stone carving of Krishna, and a tiny paper sagging ever so delicately. Hands shaking violently, Mr. Saxena opened the damaged paper with tremendous difficulty.
**Maaf Khardijye Sir
Read the blood soaked note. Those fading three words salvaged a single tear that spontaneously raced down Mr. Saxena’s cheek. It was a tear of apology, a tear of surpassing grief, a tear that questioned who he was, and what he had become. It was a tear that would change his life forever.
**Hindi phrase; meaning “forgive me”