The Wayside Stranger

There he was. Sitting right there. Once again. I was scared.

He sits right under pillar number 254 of the new Metro line under construction. It’s been almost two years that I have been spotting him sitting right there in front of the school. Never did I see his appearance change a bit. I am not sure what made me notice him but once I did, I kept looking out for him everyday. I tried changing my time by ten-fifteen minutes, but he was always present there.

Out of anxiety, I once landed up on that road about an hour before the last bell for the day rang in the school. He was not present there. I kept walking to and fro but he was nowhere to be seen. At around 4.45 p.m. I saw him coming. He was walking steadily towards the same pillar as if to take charge of that spot. He cleaned up the space and sat comfortably in his permanent posture.

The bell rang and the children started assembling in the assembly area. With children increased the noise. His old eyes were looking at the children through the poles of the gate. Whenever a bus or a car passed by blocking his view, he would get restless. I had fifteen minutes before I could collect my girls. So I thought of secretly keeping a watch on why he was always sitting there and who was he looking at.

Bus after bus went by. He kept staring in as if waiting for someone special. With all these news of kidnapping and all, I was a little nervous. He might be a spy. An agent. I thought. The more I thought, the more I got worried. Should I alert someone? But what will I say? Will they believe me? Or will they mock me? What if he is there to pick up a certain kid? May be someone’s family member? But then I have never seen him picking up anyone. Nor have I seen him rushing towards any child. What could be the reason? What if he is indeed planning something dangerous? What if he’s part of a big game plan?

It was 5 p.m. Almost all the buses and vans had left. The teachers were also leaving now. I chose to leave my detective role for another day. As I picked up the girls and boarded our regular rickshaw, I saw him stand up and walking slowly towards us. I kept staring at him as the rickshaw picked up pace. And like everyday I heard Little Love wave and shout,

Bye Bye! Love you! See you! Umma!

As the rickshaw took a U-turn, I kept looking at him completely in awe. He ran behind us for a while wagging his tail before we turned to the edge of the road.

I couldn’t help but smile at myself. Love has no limits. Indeed.

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13 Replies to “The Wayside Stranger”

  1. A post that deserves an ‘awwww’ 😉 Sweet. Well narrated Rekha. I was wondering who this guy is and what he wants. We have all become so closed that better things do not come to mind.

  2. Well love is beautiful and lucky are those who have them irrespective of it being human or from an animal..

    Lovely story .. I had my own detective hat on thinking but it turned out different lovely..

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