Yesterday, I was standing outside the medical store, standing in a queue, waiting for my turn to buy some medicines.
There was an old man in front of the counter, who had old, almost-torn clothes on. He was nervously running his fingers through his white beard. The storekeeper brought a big medical box to counter after reading the prescription in old man’s hand.
“350 ₹…” He said.
The old man took out cash from his pocket. It was barely 310 ₹…
“This is all I have … I will pay the remaining soon … We are staying at Hospital !” He said.
Storekeeper smirked, grab the box and placed it back in the cupboard.
The old man was stunned. Maybe thinking what to do … Tears started to gather in his eyes.
One gentleman standing behind the old man said…
“Take the remaining amount from my bill… give him that box”.
Storekeeper handed the box to the old man, take the cash.
“Son, How should I feed this powder to the baby, he is just 2 days old?” Old man inquired.
“This is not for the baby … This is for his mother”.
“Oh ! Then take this … I’ll buy this later”, the old man returned the box.
Storekeeper pissed off … returned the money with anger in his eyes.
The old man gave the money back to that gentleman and started to walk away.
I started walking with the old man and asked him,
” Why you returned the box ..?”
Wiping the sweat he said .
“I thought it was for my little angel … Why to his mother? … She is fine now …If we need to buy medicines for baby … who will give us money for that ??”
I was left with no words … My mind was filled with many thoughts.
How situations make a man so calculative?
How the preferences changes?
How the flow of love changes direction so quickly ??
Does the poverty make men so hard to take such decisions ??
All these questions made me feel numb.
How small their needs are .. how calmly the old man took that decision. Without making an issue , No anger for the storekeeper, without losing the calmness.
Accepting the situation , the old man decided his preferences. I was walking with all these things going through my mind.
“Hey, leave the road fool” rant from Rickshaw driver dragged me back to reality.
My eyes started looking for the old man. But he was lost in the hospital crowd.
“This is life !” I said like nothing happened.