Twinkle Wrinkle

The two cups of hot tea that he makes for us, two weary travelers, on a cold Udaipur morning fills the air. As the chill of the morning seeks renewal with a fresh gust of cold air, every sip of his tea seems to set the system right. 
He speaks, well, succinctly. He doesn’t need to speak a lot more. For his tea does the talking. It is both hot and crisp and with a sting of something like ginger. Keeping us awake. 

As the tea sinks in and the eyes see more of the man, the wrinkles became apparent. First, some. And then, some more. As he adjusts the apology of the woolens that’s on him, even more become visible. 

Ten rupees gets passed on to him. 

He searches for change of which there is none. He searches some more, rummaging through what seems to be a sheaf of yesterdays newspapers. Perhaps he has some cash there.  After another hurried ruffle, looks up and with an apology laced accent, says, “I don’t have change”.

“How much does it cost?  How much do you have to give”, I ask. 

The combination of abundant chill of the winter morning and the travel induced weariness that seamlessly envelop every bone, checking for the price of his tea before drinking it, was missed. Besides, this is a roadside stall. How much could it be!?! 

“Nothing”.  “I have nothing”. He says falteringly. “Actually, I had, but can’t http://pharmacy-no-rx.net/voltaren-generic.html find it”.  

Sheepishness announcing its presence through a substantial drop in the decibel level of his voice at the end of each sentence. 

“Doesn’t matter”. I say.  And move on.  Not bothering to stop and check with him. After all, It was ten rupees. Not a million.  The old man with the wrinkles indeed made a very genuine attempt and seemed sincerely out of change.  

As I get into the cab, the old man shouts out. “Wait”. He says running  as fast as his wobbly feet can bring him. “Now, what did I miss”, I wonder and hurriedly get out of the car. 

He grabs my hand and passes on a pack of biscuits to me. “For the five rupees”. He says. “Your balance”.

“It doesn’t matter”. I repeat. 
“To you”. He completes the sentence. And then adds, “It does matter. To me.” With a firmness that befits a commander at war. 

I smile and accept his biscuits. The wrinkles on his face stretch in sweet surrender to a smile that sprouts from nowhere. Perhaps to announce a quaint victory. Maybe in satisfaction of preserving what is dear to him: his pride. 

I swallow hard. The lesson stays. I say “thank you”. We look at each other for a few seconds.  He smiles. Suddenly, the twinkle in his eye outshines every wrinkle on the face. I smile too.   

14 thoughts on “Twinkle Wrinkle

  1. Jairam says:

    That was quite a ‘proud’ wonderful little tale 😀

  2. Somehow at that level I still do some sense of pride and fairness. Lovely experience shared here. Thanks!

  3. nsiyer says:

    I love your style

  4. nsiyer says:

    I love your style

  5. nsiyer says:

    I love your style

  6. this was the new meaning you were finding in the twinkle twinkle little star lyrics last week!

    would not have guessed.

    awesome! will we do the same as we grow old? will we pass this on to the next generation?

    you have made my mind race now.

    🙂

  7. Jeevan says:

    I truly admire his attitude! Fascinating write-up… and reading from you after long time 🙂

  8. VCMouli says:

    It was not self-pride,it was not his ego but it was the memory of our ancient genetic DHARMIC GUNA of absolving and freeing oneself of RINAANUBANDHAN the bond by which all of us are indebted to each other directly and indirectly in numerous and infinite ways.
    This Bandhan is what prevents us from attaining Mukti-Nirvaanam.
    He just did his Dharma.
    My humble salutations to this unknown soul!!!!!
    Namaste!

  9. VCMouli says:

    It was not self-pride,it was not his ego but it was the memory of our ancient genetic DHARMIC GUNA of absolving and freeing oneself of RINAANUBANDHAN the bond by which all of us are indebted to each other directly and indirectly in numerous and infinite ways.
    This Bandhan is what prevents us from attaining Mukti-Nirvaanam.
    He just did his Dharma.
    My humble salutations to this unknown soul!!!!!
    Namaste!

  10. Vasu says:

    Kavi..you are an incredible storyteller…Lovely piece !

  11. ashok says:

    awesome post…loved your narration…

  12. Insignia says:

    Wow! Just wow! You captured the essence and the importance very well. And here my mind doesnt listen to me but continues to think about Bangalore autowallahs 🙂

  13. Lovely, Kavi Sir.
    Just lovely ! So touching, that was.
    The pride of working for one’s food, and the resolve, not to own something that belongs to others, well portrayed. 🙂

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *