With one sweeping movement of his old frail hands holding the giant fan, he directs some still air onto sweat drenched devotees.
Young. Old. Rich. Poor. Everybody. For a brief, a very brief moment, are comforted with that muscle powered gust. And i watch. As i have been watching him ever since i was a small kid.His frail frame gives away the fact that he has kept at ‘fanning’ for a long time. And he keeps at it. Even when nobody was watching. Even when nobody specifically asked for it. His body is frailer. The man himself has become older. The fan, though, with peacock feathers et al is the same. What must drive the likes of this old man? I don’t know. He doesn’t give a clue.
Its another morning. Madurai. And i walk by this sugarcane juice machine. Its too early for the familiar sugarcane juice vendor. But he will be in. Soon.
To stow in the sugarcane, and give that wheel a strong twist, arching every sinew and causing his biceps to bulge. And of course, some there would be some fresh juice for thirsty throats ! My brother has been a regular here. For 20 plus years.
Ever since the price of sugarcane juice was Re. 1/-. In 20 odd years, the price of sugarcane juice has moved by all of 6 rupees. And the chap is still at it. At the same roadside. Sugarcane. With the same Wheel. And all.He gives you a good glass full. His glasses are clean. He does not overcharge. He adds that dash of ginger and cuts open those giant ice cubes. To be just right for the juice that you are drinking. Every single time, with a perfection of a 6 sigma factory ! For 20 plus years. Modern day corporate world will dub him strange names.
Thats immaterial. For he is a happy man.
What is material to this post is this : What drives this man? I don’t know. The wheel doesn’t give a clue.
And then these last lines on the memorial rush back to the mind. ‘his love of justice and his kindly heart endeared him to all classes of the community. and thus he bore without abuse, the grand old name of Gentleman’.
There is an elegance in a pioneers work. And theres another elegance in the lives of ordinary men and women. Who go about living this ‘one life’.
And i think. Of that giant peacock fan. And that wheel. And wonder. About life. People. Men. And their drives.