February 21st, 2017
Walked with an Old Man on a Tricycle for 6 km. “Yeh Zindagi ka naam Zindagi hai, Paisa nahi”
Temperature: 29 Degree Celsius
It was a normal college day. The temperature in Delhi had suddenly changed to the other extreme. I was on my usual 3 km long walk back home from college. It was 12 noon, and the sun was scorching already. I plugged in my earphones and walked on. The music hitting the lowest notes and the highest pitches, my brain was churning with thoughts. Far, I saw a three-wheeled handicap cycle on the opposite side. The sun was piercing through my skin. I wanted to cross the highway opposite to the shades of Pusa forest and continue walking. But, I couldn’t because of the metal fence on the divider.
I saw this old man struggling to peddle the wheelchair with his hand. Tired, he was resting his head on the handle. He looked to be at least 75-years-old, one eye was milky with cataract, hair white as cotton fleece reflecting almost all the sun rays. I waited there for him to paddle and approach me. He pulled towards me and I asked, “Dada aapko dhakka maru?” (Should I push you?). In a frail voice, he said, “Karo toh Meherbani” (would be a favour if u did). I grabbed his vehicle by the chair and started pushing.
Our conversation continued like this:
Me: Where do you live?
Him: Patel Nagar (3 km from where we met)
Me: Where are you going?
Me: Why are you going there?
Him: to sort some mistake in the electricity bill with the officer.
Me: Are you married?
Him: Nope, my marriage was called off because of my disabilities. Where do you live?
Him: We are almost reaching your place then. I’ve to go beyond.
On asking him a more about himself, he said, “My name is Mahinder. I was a shopkeeper of ladies utilities. I live with my brother and sister-in-law. They have a son who is working.”
As we reached Todapur bus stop, I asked if he could continue on his own, to which replied he could. I was looking at him go, and something in me didn’t want him to go alone. So I ran ahead and started pushing his tricycle again, and we started talking about the political situation in Delhi.
I noticed his extremely lean muscles and told him he shouldn’t be pushing himself so far. He could have requested his family members to sort out the problems with the bill. To this, he said, “We have to fulfil our duties. No one was home, and if I don’t get this done, they will walk into a dark house in the evening. I am anaemic because of a recent operation. I have nothing to give for the operation.”
I told him that he shouldn’t cycle all the way since it was getting hot. He said, “We have to fulfil our duties. No one is home, and if I don’t do this, my family members will walk into a dark house. The operation I had weakened me. I had nothing to give for the operation but found my ways to survive because of Yeh Zindagi ka Naam Zindagi hai Paisa nahi (we call this life and not money)”.
I pushed him till the gate of the electricity office for almost 6 kms. I asked, “aapko wapas ghar chodna hai? (should I drop you home?)”. He replied “Aap Pareshaan kyu ho rahe ho, Mein sambhal lunga” (Why are you bothering yourself, I’ll manage by myself)”. He saluted me and said, “bohot Dhanyawad” (thank you very much). I stood far away to find him keep his cushion on the floor to drag himself inside the office.
Story By – Roy Zubin
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