BEYOND THE CROSSING

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It was one of the hottest days in may. Evening had set in and night was about to swallow it. That is the time when people, boxed up in their flats, move on to the roads to breathe the coolness which the sunset normally brings. But the heat that day was as oppressive in the open as behind closed doors. I did not find many people on the road.
An old man, his profile familiar was walking ahead of me near the Don Bosco school in Alaknanda. Another old man, his profile equally familiar, came from the opposite direction of greater Kailash-2. The two exchanged greetings and then theGK man took a turn and they started walking together in the same direction.
‘’Lalaji, you have crossed all limits,’’ said the GK man, ‘’so much fire is not bursting from the sky that taking off your shirt, you should be roaming about in the streets of Delhi in a mere banyan. Children will laugh at you.’
‘’Children laugh at me any way’’ , said the Don Bosco man, ‘’wearing or not wearing a shirt is immaterial. But tell me one thing. What is the difference between my banyan and their T-SHIRT? My banyan has at least the colour of sharifan. It is white. The t-shirt they wear have more colours than even theLORD has invented. Some are as red as if these have just come from the oven. Some are green like grass in barsat and some are black like charcoal.
‘’And what anapshanap is not written on them?I love you. Kiss me. Keep away. Have you seen a turban on a boy’s head?’’
‘’Yes,’’ said the GK man, ‘’they wear them when their fathers die.’’ Both laughed heartly. ‘’But then’’, theGK man went on, ‘’ what you are saying about T-shirt is correct. Times have changed. In our days, fashion used to start in London and then come to india. Now it starts in Connaught place and then goes to villayat via karol baugh. That, however, does not mean that you should do your muttergasti in a mere banyan.’’
The situation was amusing. Two persons, apparently in the same circumstances, passing a few moments of their lives together, giving some comfort to each other- talking as I was, almost at the same pace at which they were walking, I could not help listening to their ‘’sweet nothings’’.
As their outing ended, the GK man said to the Don Bosco man a bit loudly, ‘’Better move on the other side of the road. But don’t cross it here. Cross it where they have those large white lines. They say that if you are over-run by a car on a zebra crossing, your children will get double compensation.’’

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