This here is the re-post of an old blog written on 4th Sept 2006 at Yahoo 360, the year I had started blogging and when Goofy had been with us still.
“Amma, someone’s at the gate!” says the junior son.
“Where’s Goofy??” he asks and adds, “He is already inside the gate, with his cycle!”
“Inside? And on his cycle too??” I ask surprised.
Who could it be??
I walk out, after asking him to lock up Goofy, our dog.
I find the man parking his cycle.
“What do you mean coming inside like that??” I ask him. I am abrupt most times with strangers who flout decorum. “There’s a dog here!!”
He parks his cycle, smiling deprecatingly. I relent seeing the old man.
He is selling winnows.
I don’t need any. I tell him so.
But he walks up to me, folds his hands and says,
“Amma please buy one! It’s Onam and if you buy something it will help me and my family. My wife is unwell and we need the money so much.”
He looks tired.
He folds his hands again and says,
“I have not had even water since morning Amma. I am trying to sell at least some”
My heart bows down with weight.
I have been out shopping yesterday and my refrigerator is stocked full of goodies that will last me for over a week. Mother Hubbard’s larder is full.
The unfairness makes me want to cry.
There must be more like him out there, trying to make both ends meet for just a square meal a day.
Tomorrow is Thiruvonam, the most important festival day for all Keralites and he is trying to collect as much as he can. Perhaps he has a grandchild too. Or maybe it is just for the medicine for his wife like he said. I wouldn’t know. I am glad he is not begging, but trying to earn his living with dignity.
I don’t need any winnows, yet I buy two of them. I don’t even know if the price he quotes is above the usual. I don’t care.
I walk inside with the winnows on the pretext of getting the money.
Instead I walk to the kitchen and make tea for him.
With tea I walk back only to find that he is a diabetic and cannot have sugar. I go in and make a second cup without sugar. No, he doesn’t want anything to eat, he says, in answer to my question.
I watch him sitting on my doorstep drinking the hot tea; a small dark man, in a shabby mundu and faded shirt, salt and pepper hair, a little bald.
A thought comes to my mind, is he Maveli?
He finishes his tea, folds his hands in a namaste and leaves, pushing the cycle along.
I cannot shake the thought. Had that been Maveli come to my house in the guise of a man selling winnows??
I will never know for sure, will I??