untitled too - the old man

Foreword: I don't find this a continuation of this. Yet in some way it is!

Five years had passed by, unsung and unthought about. The day he realised the loss of the one true friend he had, Vish had given up on life the way people lived it. Without a thought, Vish had gotten down from the bus in the middle of nowhere. The sleeping bag did just fine.

That night began his journey through unknown villages and towns. The nights were mostly spent away from civilisation, alone in his sleeping bag. The stars were his friends, the moon his guide. Rains were kept at bay with makeshift tents made out of polythene bags. He had become a nomad; one among the thousands that inhabited the nooks and crannies of the towns. Unsurprisingly, he was unlike the others. He was not disgusted by his ways nor would anyone have been. Inspite of all his hatred for society and everything to do with it, Vish made sure he did not offend the senses of people around him. His makeshift tent and his ever-changing homes always carried a remarkable dignity. It was a home!

During the day Vish worked on odd jobs. Enough to keep him well fed and clean. He would have loved to be a true nomad, a child of the earth eating out of what the earth had to offer. He was as much practical as he was idealistic and knew that such a life was not impossible but took more effort than was necessary. He was a subdued man. Though the ideals still lurked around in him, they assumed a state of indifference.

Vish met a lot of people in the five years. Each person impressed by the unexposed depth that they could feel in Vish. More than one person was concerned that such a good man was wasting away his life. Vish knew that it wasn't him that was wasting his life. He didn't, however, express this opinion to anyone.

"What are you watching, son?", the old man's trembling voice tore through the silence. Vish turned around to look at the old man. Slow enough to bring his thoughts together to the present. The old man was one of Vish's acquaintances in his then current location. He stood beneath the rock that Vish stood upon. It was his favourite place - Vish's. He liked to stand up on the slightly big rock at night and stare across the plains, across the lights at something only he seemed to perceive. He saw his life being played upon the dark canvas of the sky.

"Nothing, sir! I was merely lost in the calmness of the night, in the beauty of the sleeping town". The old man smiled his two-toothed smile. "I know, son. I know how it feels to see your past from a third person perspective." Vish was not surprised that the man had known his thoughts and he did not even attempt to hide them. Vish knew there was something about the old man that set him apart from the rest. His name was Karma and was one of the regular vagabonds - shabby and unkempt as they were expected to be. But he surely was different. Vish could feel it everytime he spoke to the man.

They were about 20 men and women, who lived in the open ground a few kilometres away from the town's boundary. The place had once upon a time borne lush green fields, not anymore. It was now no man's land; a refuge for temporary residents like Karma and Vish. Karma had lived there for five months. That was the longest time he had stayed in a single place. He had been tempted a few times to move on. Something had stopped him everytime he packed his bag. Vish had joined him only a month back and Karma had immediately taken a liking for the young man. He seemed to bear the same idealistic attitude that Karma had unsuccessfully tried to make people accept.

In his younger days, Karma had believed in his ideals and thought he could change the world through them. He had been bitterly diasppointed and disillusioned when people not only disagreed with him but also cast him out like a disease. He had joined the ranks of the vagabonds, who he thought shared some of his ideals of an ungreedy world. He was, ofcourse, incorrect in his assumption and resigned to the fact that the world was beyond salvage. Karma chose to continue living as an outcast; an outcast among the outcasts.

"Do you think it is not right to dwell upon the past, sir?", asked Vish.

"Son. I cannot answer a question of right or wrong. Nobody can. What I think is right will be wrong for another."

Vish smiled at the answer. "Do you think about your past when you are alone and have nothing else to do?"

Karma did think about his past often. He remembered the passions that he had carried on his back. "I remember the roads I traversed. I don't analyze my past, I only read through its pages. Sometimes it amazes me with the wonderful things that have happened to me. The world is not a bad place. It is our sense of good and bad that makes it appear either way. I did not realise this until it was too late. I lived with my ideals. I am not sure if I'll die with them."

The two sat down upon the rock looking across the town lights. The old, fragile looking man in his rags and the young man in a more presentable form. Two individuals that looked as different as a home from a pigsty, yet there was an invisible connection that they shared. They had been through similar experiences. They had turned out the same but in different ways. They had become what they chose to be. It was the choice that had differed. They looked upon the sleeping world and smiled at the ignorant bliss the world lived in.

Vish thought to himself, "I have found myself a new friend. A friend that is almost like me."

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