Man of kind heart

Man of kind heart

The man had occupied a small corner to pile up his belongings.

He was a quiet man who spoke through smiles, the simple language of the heart that is in many ways more edifying than the eloquence of a scholar. His dark, brooding face would magically light up the moment he spots a stray dog.

And without hesitation, he would share the big portion of bun he eats with the morning tea or the vada that he gets along with his afternoon meal. Without wonder, the dog would run towards him with the affection of a child towards its mother.

The rickshaw, painted in bright yellow, was always parked in the corner of the street near our home and the sight of him seated on it with a dog for company was a familiar one. He never had the same animal with him more than a week and so we assumed that they came and went, sheltering under the slender footboards of his rickshaw, satisfied with a few morsel of food the man had cast their way until they decide one fine day to find greener pastures. One late August, when the winds changed direction from southwest to northeast, shrouding the skies above Chennai with dark clouds, we found the man pitching camp at the pavement on the main road. He brought with him a large tarpaulin with which he made a makeshift tent near the shuttered-down workshop. Rain lashed ceaselessly over the tent. Water flowing from the sheet that shielded him drained into the nearby ditch, which was getting submerged in the increasing water level on the road.
Vehicles crawling over the flooded road seemed like weird floating vessels.

With electricity going erratic and pocket radios blaring out the hourly weather bulletin, venturing out for buying food and vegetable seemed more riskier. But my uncle held his umbrella aloft and waded through the inundation. He looked towards the makeshift tent and inside, the man had occupied a small corner to pile up his belongings. In the free space on the tent’s far corner was a puppy dog, wet and shivering, taking small bites of a biscuit. It appeared like the man had just rescued it from the flood water.

“It seemed so motherly a thing to do… What… The guy was beaming so proudly at the little thing as if nothing in the world would make him happier…,” uncle said as he returned with a small stockpile of food. ‘Being a care giver, the protector of the meek and the mild and showing the big hart to small beings… Isn’t that motherhood all about? Should someone be a woman to be a mother?’ We wondered listening to the wind rattling the window panels and rain pouring over the roof in a steady gush.

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