Birds were constantly flocking to the trees to their individual nests and feeding the chirpy young ones with whatever they could get the whole day. As the sun was trying hard to maintain the light, the earth was adamant to set for its romance with the moonlight. Delhi, as usual notorious for its biting cold was preparing itself to prevent itself from the weather trying to send a shiver down the spine. But still, Delhi never stops and moves on.
Just some miles away from the honking streets and the busy markets, a dark figure appeared on the deserted streets of nearby slums. Jagdish was trying hard to collect his rag and prevent the heat from his body, to escape to feed the ever hungry cold of Delhi. His body was constantly reminding him of the pain he was bearing due to a broken scapula. Although blood had stopped oozing yet the wound was not dry enough to be covered by any cloth directly.
He was walking slowly and his moist eyes told an untold story asking several questions to GOD, Society and the humanity. His mind was repeating the suffering he met in the afternoon itself. He was asking himself a question. "Why did I try to pick the vegetables from the trash area? Why did I go to select some tomatoes from the garbage area? I didn't steal anything, then why did they all hit me as if I stole their fresh vegetables? They had already threw all those things, then why did I get a thrashing over the refused material?"
His mind got diverted to his family now. His pregnant wife Laxmi must be eagerly waiting for the medicines and some food so as to sustain herself and also her old mother-in-law. Jagdish tried remembering his old days when he worked at the local food processing industry as porter. He was one of the most efficient worker there and his supervisor always praised him for his work and also because he was regular and polite. He was several times rewarded bonus for being a loyal worker for the company. It was the peak time of his happiness as he got married too. Every thing changed within an year and dark times were waiting for him. Once the Government decided that all industries must leave Delhi at once, he was on the road without food, money, shelter and even some clothes.
He tried to get some job of laborer, but policy of Delhi's master plan was not going to support him either. All the construction work had to be stopped immediately and everything will go by the master plan designed by the so called leaders of development.
The silence of the road was now and then broken by the noise of his rumbling hungry stomach. He didn't remember as to when did he eat last time. Maybe 2 days back, when he got some dry bread wrapped in 'Harvest Gold' wrapper in the garbage? Every night when he reached home he gave at least something to eat to his wife and mother, although he would remain hungry many a times. He knew the fact that her expecting wife needed more nutrient as compared to him but still he knew that whatever he provided was not even enough for herself, leave alone the growing embryo.
His mind was not settling, he was thinking. From topic to topic. He was blessing that servant of nearby bungalow, who by mistake dropped and tore the rice bag while carrying it from shop to home. Jagdish collected all the rice fallen on the ground and filled it in his shawl and tied it closely to his waist. He was feeling that packet and was smiling that at least today his wife and mother can eat to their full, although he was ignoring the fact that packet contained more of soil than rice grains.
Meanwhile, at his so called home, her mother was getting tensed as Laxmi was experiencing some pain. Lajjo knew what this pain meant. She was conscious and asked Laxmi to go and relax in the bed. She kept a constant eye on the door, expecting his son to come and handle the situation as early and as efficiently as possible. But his son was nowhere to be seen. The pain was increasing and Lajjo had to take a decision very fast or otherwise a disaster was waiting for her.
Winters were at its peak and was testing the patience of humans but Laxmi was sweating profusely. Her mind was not giving her right instructions and she had started crying now. Lajjo plunged into action and caught Laxmi's hand and dragged her to nearby government health center. Laxmi although feeling weak, managed to accompany her mother-in-law.
Jagdish was still walking back to his home unaware of the situation. His body didnot have enough energy now and his mind was confusing him with various signals simultaneously. He started having hallucinations. He clinched the rice packet close to himself and tried regaining some courage to move on. He took his shawl by his right hand and tried to cover his left shoulder properly which was wounded and was paining severely. He held his left hand by his right hand so as to support it. He felt like cutting his left arm and shoulder many a times. His half dry eyes were enough to tell his agony.
Every now and then some vehicles passed beside him making him aware of the fact that India indeed is a rich country with poor people. His steps were losing the pace and most dangerously, focus. He looked like a drunk man, trying to find his way back to home.
To be continued....