Friday, October 30, 2009

Solitary Walk

It is a pleasant thing sometimes to walk alone incognito in sprawling deteriorating and decrepit streets.

Nobody to wait for. Nobody to catch up.

To look at those dirty chipped walls sometimes stained with beautifully unappreciated art. To see the rats quickly dash by as if we couldn't notice it. It need not worry. We are mutually indifferent.

There is more life in the areas of developmental entropy. There are flies, mosquitoes, cockroaches as there are weeds, little flowers that struggle up from the cracks of broken undulating concrete.

Last night I walked past a scrawny wrinkled who looked too old with a child sleeping in her lap. His head was on where her thigh should be. His legs dangled from her other thigh. She had called out to me from the darkness. The bowl in front of her sat empty. Symbolic more than useful.

I didn't know what she said in her foreign language. But I understood. Completely.

She played on my mind even as I walked on. Even though I didn't see her clearly, she weighed so heavily on me. Eventually I returned and pressed more than I usually did into her hand. I felt the wiry thinness of her fingers clumsily grabbing the money from my fingers as if afraid I would change my mind.

At the least it should spare her a day off the streets and a decent meal.

So why did I feel worse after that act of charity?

Thursday, October 29, 2009

The Morning Assembly

The morning sun cast glowing yet cool shafts of light through the thick clouds, softening the edges of everything it touched. The dew still hung precariously on the edges of the flowers and leaves. The birds had not finished their song nor the butterflies their dance.

King Baloo was already standing on the pavilion with Prince Balroukh on his right perched above a massive armoured war elephant, which stood at least a head taller than the largest in the platoon. A golden aura glowed from the many fine gold threads carefully laid their breastplate and sewn into their fine splendid garments.

Before them not too far away were the prisoners they had captured after a 10 year battle with Tuk'aranth. They were hemmed into an irregular rectangular crowd that stretched into the horizon by the row of soldiers on both their sides. They were bloody, filthy, ragged and yet despite their misery there was not a sound from any of them or the soldiers. Silently the stood. All the eyes in the crowd were riveted to the two glowing figures they could barely make out, even those at the front of the crowd.

The commander after what seemed an eternity of silence turned to King Baloo and said, 'Your Magnificence, they are ready.' After King Baloo acknowledged him and the commander returned his gaze to the crowd.

King Baloo turned to the mass of bodies before him and finally turned to the Prince touching hi
m on his left shoulder.

'The time has come, my son,' he said gravely.

Prince Balroukh turned to him with a searching look. And King Baloo saw the silhouette of his head mirrored in his son's eyes.