The morning


A few blurry smiling faces walked down the foggy street. The turbaned man, in his late fifties, sat on the edge of the footpath smoking a joint. An elderly homeless lady curled up near the temple lived by the warmth of a few logs of wood. Perhaps, searching for the lost moments of her life in the shining embers of charcoal.

Old uncles, looked like cartoon characters, with their eyes like sockets bulging out of the little monkey cap spaces. Some sat, some walked while rest observed the movements around them. The movements included occasional swaying of the trees with the gush of air or the ups and downs of the obese man’s paunch. In synch with their loud orchestrated laughter which often brought a smile on the otherwise glum faces.

And there she sat, clad in a brown cardigan, wrapped in the warmth of an off white muffler, witnessing it all.

The brown eyed, well built dog with pointed ears wagged his tail as he saw her. He barked at every two wheeler he saw. As if they threatened his private space like a new dog in alien territory.

That was usually how a cold winter morning began for her.

Waking up with a whiff of instant coffee, feel of shredded cottage cheese and tempting baked breads. It was an act rehearsed a number of times. Perhaps, she could sleepwalk the entire winter morning act. Having coffee and cheese sandwiches; taking her camera, book, notebook and pen. Sitting at the far end bench of the Central Park reading and scribbling.

But still she loved doing it every single day of her life. The characters from her books came to life in this very park. That is how every morning seemed different.

She sat scribbling something or the other that often made no sense. Only she knew why she started her day like this. There were stories to everything around her and they were for ‘real’.

Begginning from the dog to herself. He used to be a white coloured dog with dark brown spots. There were times when he would just disappear for months and then return.

But, once when he disappeared he came back with an unusual shade of brown black. Some naughty kids did it or he jumped into a pool of dye. Nobody knew. People were really scared as they thought some new unknown dog had come. But the watchman knew who he was. Both of them shared this bond that everyone knew about.

And soon everyone adjusted to the idea of him being brown black.

What interested her, were his frequent adventurous detours into the unknown. This reminded her of Tally Ho, the dog from the book Red Dog. He was strikingly similar to the fictional character.

The homeless old lady reminded her of Miss Havisham. She looked sad but had an air of diffidence about her. Her hollow glances baffled the onlookers. They had an air of unease that disturbed anyone.

The loud laughters of old men camouflaged their tears that poured down the saggy eyes of many sunken cheeks. They laughed their loneliness off. And lived clinging by these moments of togetherness.

The turbaned man smoking outside was the gardener. He spent half his life in dazed state of affairs. He was often seen hallucinating or shouting at invisible kids. They said he was out of his brains. But, once even he used to be sane. Sane as the world defines it to be.

And lastly herself, the bespectacled double for a confused direction less soul. Her life was not fictional. She never wished for it to be either. But these animated bookish characters fascinated her.

The morning seemed to pass in a hazy state of trans. Where she could wake up to new ideas and learn new lessons for life. She was part of them now and they were part of her.