“Oh God, have some mercy on me…” Raghu looked up at the sky, sun was blazing hot. It was a long day.
Occasional passer-by used to toss a penny of mercy in his broken aluminium bowl, to which, Raghu used to thank with a nodding gesture and a soft murmur of blessings in return to those strangers. Most of these people were visitors of the nearby cafeteria.
Raghu… a lonely soul to whom the roads were relatives and the pavement his home had barely any memories from the past.
Raghu had never seen his parents. Someone had left him at the doorsteps of an orphanage, where he learnt about life, took his baby steps and met many of the people who were never concerned with what he was and how he was. At a tender age of 13, he planned to run away from the hell shaped orphanage where he had people who would bully and torture him at every step.
The glowing streets of the city where he was flying on did make him feel good for some moments but it soon vanished and what became his reality was the dark allies and those scary streets full of nasty people. Life was full of adventures hence forth.
For a couple of days, Raghu could survive on the alms but he soon realised that would not help him in the long run. He was poor but knew how to pave ways, he soon found a place where he could work for his daily bread. The construction site was his next venture where he managed to get a task for himself along with a place to live.
Days kept passing and Raghu shifted from one site to another site and was getting used to his new way of living until one day the fate had another bump. He used to burn the candle on both the ends and toil for hours together, sometimes even a day and a night both. It was a fateful day, he hadn’t slept for a night followed by another day of work. Raghu was on his toes managing somehow. While walking on a narrow wooden plank which was acting a bridge, he happened to slip and fell badly. This accident was not that minor as it looked like and he had to accept the disability that was gifted by the accident.
Once out of the hospital he was again left with zero options and a long list of questions for him. Raghu had to beg for his bread for the next day, being a loner, he wasn’t much interested in what other beggars were up to. Neither did he mix and mingle much with them nor did they knew anything about his past life.
Days passed with nothing new, only thing that was positive amongst all odds was that he had got few daily commuters who used to show mercy by tossing few coins on and off. Walking around and blessing those who were merciful he passed his days. He never used to bother anyone not even those passed filth to him without giving him a single penny. Limping for the whole day and collecting an exiguous amount for his livelihood, Raghu used to visit the cafeteria every evening to wrap his day’s begging business with few extra coins from his favourite visitors and grockles. He used to quietly occupy a corner waiting for those extra coins.
The cafe was buzzing at weekends but weekdays had a quiet affair, with lesser visitors except for few nerds and creative heads who were addicted to the caffeine for activating their brains.
Today was no different from other days, the sun rose and was not about to set, Raghu with his signature step reached the cafeteria and was waiting for a good end to his day. He found a new visitor at the cafeteria today who was not like others and was engrossed in his cup of black coffee and had a pack of cigarettes to share his table. He didn’t look like he had been there before, hopes sprung and he waited for him to show some mercy on him.
Raghu could do nothing but wait and count his gestures, what caught his attention was the hitting of the keys as he gawped in his mobile. Maybe, there was something that was bothering him, but the next moment he glissaded his mobile on the table and breathed relief. The new bloke at the cafeteria had his own way of doing things a bit different from others, he leaned forward and lit his cigarette and the next moment he was lost in his thoughts. Unaware of the fact the coffee was consumed way before by him he lifted the cup and wanted to have a sip. A sweet smile was seen as he kept the empty cup back. This was when his eyes fell on Raghu who was waiting for the same.
Raghu too had his own ways of doing things, he gestured that he was hungry and waited for his reaction. Raghu never knew what would happen next but he heard the knock on the glass door along with a message beep. The waiter immediately came out and noted the order given by him. He had ordered for a coffee and a sandwich
The waiter was back with a black coffee for him. Sipping it hurriedly, he was ready to walk out. While moving out he softly whispers into Raghu’s ears
“Your sandwich is on the way.”
As D.K. turned around, he saw the waiter rushing with a takeaway. D.K. gestures to give it to Raghu. The waiter does it without any expressions this time and gives the bill. D.K. takes it and crumpling it, toss away that happens to fall near Raghu. The waiter then hands over the sandwich to Raghu who is a patient beggar, unlike other messy ones. He never demands things but is always favoured by the visitors, which was known to all the waiters of the cafeteria.
TO BE CONTINUED…
Written by: Hemang
Edited by: Pratishtha Shyam
Sketch: Paranj Sankdecha