I’ve always wanted to be a writer and a director. Needless to say I never had the talent or confidence to do either. So I got into acting in my spare time, since it came naturally to me.
Recently in my spare time I decided to dabble in a bit of writing. I called myself The Columnist, mostly for the purpose of restraining my writing to the length of a column but also because it sounds pompous. Like I have a regular column in a newspaper or magazine. Like Shobha De. Anyway, since I still don’t have the confidence to go public with it, I thought I shall share it here. Shall try writing something once a week. Here’s hoping it works.
Walking up the road from my house one afternoon to meet my mom at the junction to run some errands, I crossed paths with some school children playing holi on the pavement. To avoid getting colour on myself I stepped onto the road. Now, despite having a school and a moderately big apartment complex, this road has very little traffic or crowd, except in the evenings when it converts itself into a food street complete with food trucks and instant chaat shops and what not.
This particular afternoon, a lady on the better side of 50 was bent over sweeping the road in front of the school. Irritated with the noise the children were making and the numerous other worries that were bothering her, she muttered to herself as she tried hard to pull a rag that had embedded itself well into the tar with the relentless heat. She struggled valiantly with it with one hand, gripping the bag in which she collected the waste tightly with the other.
Set your mind to it and nothing is impossible!
The tar gave in, the rag came flying out and the woman looked mighty pleased with herself. I smiled as I watched this and was walking past her when she suddenly turned and threw the rag at me. I stopped for a moment, surprised by the mere unpredictability of the act. The woman realised her folly and apologised profusely.
How many times in life have we unnecessarily picked up garbage from somewhere and flung it on some unsuspecting victim? Tensions from work vented out on a poor waiter, doorman or even our own family. Stress of an upcoming meeting released on the poor cab driver stuck in the same traffic jam that will probably reduce his earnings for the day. He in turn will probably vent out at the next customer he picks up and so on… We all unknowingly pick up these unwanted pieces of baggage and pass it on. Its like the amount of baggage in the world is a constant and we are all a group of immature people playing passing the parcel with it.
The rag by itself was harmlessly lying on the road believing itself to be no different from the tar. Maybe it was harmful for the road and by clearing it up, the woman was infact doing a good deed. Possible. But why then did she not put it into the bag in her other hand that was for the very purpose of collecting garbage? Why think of throwing it on the road side and then collecting it while sweeping? Especially when you cant be sure that it will not fall on someone else in the meanwhile. Or fly away onto an oncoming biker’s face.
I paused for a moment, regained my composure, smiled at her and said, “Its ok. Its just a rag.” Here’s hoping that she doesn’t carry any baggage from that incident because in this game, when the music stops, there are no winners.