As the sun receded into the evening sky, the soothing breeze turned into a gale giving goosebumps to all. The wind is so cold that it pricked through the deepest layer of warm and fuzzy clothes and gave all a numb and bitter feeling. In the midst of such weather, a highly dignified man who happens to be a social worker and a great philosopher is quietly sitting on his seat and smiling at people who are cursing Mother Nature.
Thinking about the issues of human life, he pushed the window pane to feel the breeze upon his face; he barely felt the breeze, a rough voice troubled him, “hey! What’s the matter with you? We all are freezing in here, and you are trying to drop mercury further; just shut that window!” Before he can respond to that, he heard an anxious voice of women, “will you close the window, please! My child is unable to sleep. He’s feeling uncomfortable.” Seeing no scope of the argument, he closed the window pane and closed his eyes to take some rest.
Twenty minutes later, the bus comes to a halt suddenly, which woke the philosopher up. “It’s 7:30 p.m. already, one more hour to reach home.” So he told himself while deviating his eyes from the watch and looked forward to inquiring about the cause. But, instead, his eyes stuck on the entry gate of the bus, where he saw a man aged about thirty-five entering the bus with his son, who seems to be at the tender age of ten.
Their eyes, their clothes portray their miserable state. While they were getting on the bus, the murky man nearly crashed into the steel deck of the bus. “Even travelling with children can’t stop these people to gulp poison,” thought the philosopher, and then he looked wide to his son. He is shocked by his inspection of the destitute lad. His right hand is shining as a marble due to the white layer of plaster of Paris. His feet are bare.
None of the folks in the bus can ever imagine surviving this winter without wool & furs. And seeing these people, they all felt an eternal jimjams and a sense of pity for them. The drunk man is clothed in an old torn jacket and trouser while the child is wearing a wool inner and half trouser which also seems to be donated.
As they entered the bus, the drunk man paid the fair. He is hardly able to move but somehow secured a seat & fell asleep. He forgot about the boy. It seems the boy doesn’t exist for him. “Alcohol leads a man to a whole new world of ecstasy it loosen us a little bit, firstly and gives freedom and flexibility within, that’s the attraction of alcohol, but the man forgot that the freedom comes at a cost. For such a little time of freedom, man hurt immensely not only himself, but his loved one also, that’s the true nature of any intoxicant, it makes you ugly in the end,” thought the philosopher.
“Is the boy still standing with a fracture in his hand?” asked the gentleman himself shockingly, as he noticed the downcast eyes of the child searching for a seat disparately. “Let me help him,” thought the philosopher, and he stood up to offer his seat to the child. “But wait! Am I the only one noticing this wretched, troubled boy? I’ll wait for some time. Let me see where we are going as a society. Let me see how many humans are on this bus along with me, who are eager to help this boy.”
He waited for a while, but nobody stood up and gave a helping hand to the boy.
“What happened to people nowadays? Nobody is giving attention to this poor child. Not even that lady in the red bun who was earlier so worried about her child’s comfort. Every human wants to get help when in need, but they don’t think about others, why humans are becoming selfish. They don’t know those feelings reciprocate. They don’t feel helping others as a part of their civic duties. But they do clap for the person who helps others persons, they praise him, they want to be like him, but when the time comes, they step aside, blaming situations,” thought the philosopher remorsefully, then he looked upon the child again and felt his pain and agony.
The tears of pain lashed out from the boy’s brown eyes as the bus drifted shakingly on the crumbled road.
“If nobody is helping him, I’ll rescue him from his suffering stand,” thought the philosopher and stands up from his seat once again.
“But wait and think about it, do helping him once will solve his life’s misery, if I helped him today, he will surely be pleased and will thank that there are such people who will help him at the time of need. But this thought will shatter him in pieces when he realizes there is no willingness in people to help him. So I think it’s a better idea not to help him; he has to fight for his place in this world. If I helped him and created a soft spot in his heart, he will not be able to survive among the beasts of necessities.” Thought the philosopher deeply and sat down again.
“Will helping him will solve the problem? What kind of man will he become if I don’t help him now? Will he be like all other people, not giving a damn about anybody else? What if I helped him, and it backfired, and he ended up relying on others? There is so much going in my head right now. How can I comprehend my feelings? ”
Thinking about the situation, the man fell asleep. After about an hour, the bus comes to a halt, and the philosopher gets down the bus at his stop, thinking about the broken child. He feels remorse for not helping him, so he began consoling himself by thinking that he made him stronger against the world.
Though the philosopher thought about helping the boy, by not helping him, he becomes part of the crowd, whatever reason he gives to himself. Still, he was not different from other human counterparts travelling with him. Though he processed his thought of not helping the boy in his favor, this thought process was only to save himself from the guilt that he was feeling. The man was a philosopher, but his views were pessimistic.
Suppose he has seen the situation in an optimistic mirror and really helped that boy. In that case, he must be feeling subtle happiness that he is deprived of. Maybe his feelings reciprocated within the boy, or maybe not. One cannot predict the hands of fate, although this day will surely impact the child and the gentleman philosopher.
Post Category: Short Stories