Roger: I love this coffee house. It’s the same as old days.
Perry: Yeah! But the coffee is different.
Roger: Things change Perry.
Perry: Yeah! Back then it was better. It was real coffee.
Both the friends didn’t say a word for other four or five minutes. They were dreaming about the past.
Roger: Do you remember Carl? The old waiter who worked here? We owe him a lot.
Perry: Oh yeah! ‘Mr Beetle’ we use to call him. (Reflective) I wonder if it was his Beetle. He was a tolerant man I must say. I bet I owe him more than anyone from our group. Poor Carl!
Presently they were in his shoes. They were old.
Roger: What about Andy? I thought he was coming too…this get-together. He loves such ideas.
Perry: Yeah! His doctor didn’t allow him to take a journey after the transplant. He thought he would sneak out but his wife…you know.
They shared a laugh and then again went silent. Suddenly there was a lot of noise and a group of boys entered the coffee house. They were cheering about their victory in a local football game. They shook hands with the coffee house owner, giving him details about their match. Such was the beauty of this small town. Everyone shared happiness and love. One of the young boys came and shook hands with both Roger and Perry, and told them, ‘we won 3-0!’
Both of them were simultaneously arrested in what was now their history. They couldn’t help but think about the days when their life also was all about playing football.
Perry: Ah! Yeah! We know the feeling too!
Roger: The feeling! (Sigh)
Perry: We have played some good football Roger. Do you remember our 5-0 victory?
Roger: Come on Perry, the rival team played like a bunch of idiots.
Perry: Ha ha! Yeah! But you can’t take the credit away from us. We played well.
Roger: Sure! Sure! (More like a whisper) I can’t take anything away. It’s Time that takes away all.
They turned to notice the group of boys. They couldn’t resist smiling.
My Two Friends
I am not dead. I am dying as I am living. I am old and shabby like a living scarecrow. I go unnoticed by the passersby. I have two friends – my wooden stick and my shadow.
With my wooden stick I have crossed many lands. Whose are those lands? I don’t know. It’s the warmth of the earth that I feel unlike the invisible boundaries and so I walk ahead.
I work few hours few days and earn enough to continue. I have a dream I always dream but i can’t remember it when I wake up. This is because of the running crowd I see every time I wake up. I like standing in rows, long ones, standing and waiting with my wooden stick, weird it may sound but I get time to waste.
I am poor, I am uneducated. I always stop to see a leaf fall and a butterfly fly. I can’t understand right and wrong. Once when I was in a city, a man left his dog at me. I ran while my wooden stick scared the dog away. I left the place swearing never to return in the dogs’ land.
I always accept and I never expect. I have heard of the government, it makes me laugh. I don’t know much about the laws but I am fearful to break one. Is there a law about a wooden stick? Someone said that the government is slow still I pray not to get caught. This is how I live.
You must have seen me. Some say I am the real India and some call me the common man. I own nothing. I feel free in this land though I know I am not. Heard a priest once saying something about Karma and reincarnation, I hope I die to become me in the next life. I feel comfortable the way I am. Change is strange for me.
My second friend, my shadow, never leaves me alone. I am alive, I am a common man and you must have seen me.