Akhilesh Kumar Image Source: Facebook
"He had gone to Malapuram for a company meeting. It was the company’s yearly session— an occasion where a 100 people, no better than machines, would gather regularly to boast, and then talk about what the next possible step could be. His mind too had become just like a machine— a coal-smeared machine.
The meeting got over. It was evening, so he took a room in a lodge, so that he could rest and leave for home, the following morning. Hunger took a strong hold of him. He quickly took a shower, changed and headed to a nearby restaurant. Everyone there was eating. The delicious smell assaulted his senses. The cuisine of Malapuram needs no introduction, and his hunger only increased.
He placed an order for two porottas, a chicken curry and a glass of chai. As soon as the food reached my plate, he glanced around, only to meet a pair of eyes. It was a child’s. Those eyes were staring at the plates of everyone in the restaurant, one after the other. He had a battered up sack with him. He was hungry, but no one paid any attention. Everyone kept eating their food.
He felt a twinge of pain within my machine of a heart. He gestured the child to come inside. It was only once the boy entered that he noticed he wasn’t alone. A little girl accompanied him— “Must be his sister”, he thought. Both pair of eyes went straight to his plate. He told the two to sit down. He noticed that both were dressed in tattered clothes. They both sat on stools, in front of him.
He asked them what they wanted to eat. The boy pointed his finger towards his plate. He asked the waiter for more of the same order. The food appeared in front of them. As soon as the boy went to put his hand into the plate, the sister reached out and stopped him. Understanding her, he got up and followed her to the wash basin. She had called him to wash their hands, he realised.
Everyone around was staring at them, as if it was a big wonder taking place before their eyes. The children sat in front of him and finished all that was on their plate. During this time, they did not exchange glances or even smile. After eating, they just looked at him once. They washed their hands and left. Even then, he had not touched the plate in front of him. He realised that all my hunger and thirst had been quenched on its own.
Random thoughts ran across his mind. He quickly ate my food. He was very tired and so he decided to return to his room and retire to bed. He asked for the bill. He washed my hands and returned to the table, where the bill was placed. Without even knowing, something that he had been safe-keeping, rolled down his cheeks—tears. He glanced at the fat man who was sitting on the counter. The cashier simply looked back at him and smiled. It was the smile of a pure man, the smile from a mind that had not been mechanised. Nothing is lost, nothing will be lost, he thought. As he walked back to my room, his heart was soaring with happiness. He realised that not everyone is reduced to a mere machine.”