Me and the vagabond
I befriended a vagabond. I must admit it was not a natural act, but well, I did. One late evening I was going home and saw a beggar, in dirty tatters of cloth, sitting all by himself and crying bitterly. But there was a reason to his tears.
The children standing a little further down were hitting him with pebbles and stones that I could see would fall directly on his shaven head. The scene was really upsetting.
It was then that I took the step. Inquired from him, about why was he crying and why the children were throwing stones at him. He was somewhat senile. But looking at me he said:
“Yes and you know I am homeless, I don’t have any place to go. Now, these children are throwing pebbles on me too. Where should I go?”
Next, I went up to the children who were harassing him and asked them placidly:
“What if you were in his place and somebody was throwing stones at you?”
The children were left speechless as they marched away in search of new targets.
It was the beginning of a mild friendship, I looked back and the vagabond was busy cleaning his makeshift bed and settling down to sleep.
At home, I thought about him till I retired and went off to sleep.
But what I didn’t know was that the next morning, when I will be off to work, he would be waiting for me where I left him last. He showered me with his gratitude and questions as soon as he saw me, courteously asserting:
“I slept so peacefully, the children did not trouble me after you left… Do you go to work? Do you want me to fetch a cab for you? Just tell me what I should do for you?”
Nearby the vendors, the taxi drivers, and others looked curiously at our conversation as he spoke in a loud tone. But that little act of mine didn’t end there. Neither did our friendship. It’s been a few months, he says, he has found a job of cleaning up the service lanes near my house and till date, the vagabond asksif he can ever be of any help to me.
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.