Thursday, October 25, 2012

Recognising an old face

I fret and worry about my receding hairline.


I said it. I wrote it. I blogged it.

I am under no pretension. I know that I've always looked older than I really am. (It's been a blessing and a curse)

I suppose the hairline is a family heirloom, passed from generation to generation, like a watch or a book collection. 

I was pondering this while stuck in a traffic jam at Bangla Motor. I then heard a tap against my nearside window. A rickshaw puller stared at me quizzically. 

I felt someone staring at me. My eyes rested upon a grizzled beard that was contoured into a grin. Despite the liberal speckles of white hair and an emaciated frame, I recognised this man. Ever since I can remember, he has been manning the Bangla Motor-VIP road junction and has come by our house in Eskaton during Eid, with the hope of receiving a new lungi and a generous plate of biryani. Once he came to ask for help to get his son admitted into a local school. He used to hobble then on one leg, supporting himself on a makeshift staff.

I was surprised to note that he recognised me too. Many people don't. I have been away from the country for years, I am now a Barrister and I have returned considerably plumper and sporting facial hair. Yet he saw through that facade. He saw the boy that spent so many hours sitting (and sleeping) at the same junction on the way to school.

I rummaged in my pockets for change. He was generous in his thanks.

I saw him roll away on a small board set on wheels. The staff was gone. I patted myself on the head consolingly.