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The man who watches

He watches the girl with the boy.

His one-day stubble, trimmed moustache, his weathered eyes — I didn’t see him, till I saw him…

He watches the duo visit a shop. Then he watches them leave.

I see him sit cross-legged in his Shiva pose, the small tree behind him. The scene is becoming of a modern age saint and yet, I know he is not one. He chooses to be a man who watches.

Watches the dog pee, watches his assistant make tea, watches the strange car and she…

He has given up the running of his tea shop to his assistant a long time ago. His job, now, is to wake up, get here and watch. Each morning, 7 onwards, every day, every hour, day after day, time after time he…

Watches the office lady amble across, the jogger not jogging, the old man in a hurry.

His eyes are not judging, not saying, not prying. They remain steady, they don’t invite, don’t offend. They are shy yet careful and turn away before being caught.

They watch the boy stop and stare, watch the businessman mumble by and watch the junkie run.

He does other things while watching; smoke a beedi, answer questions, drink tea, answer his cell phone and still…

Watches the ants march, the leaves fall, the skin rot.

He rests his back against a tree, he walks, strolls about, let’s others sit in his spot. He looks away but not for long. He does not shut his eyes till he shuts them at night.

Then they visit him — the images, the beings and the people. Then he shall not watch, not be passive — then he shall cross over and…

Till that time though, he watches.


Published by appamprawns

soni writes about children and people in controlled spaces, in his quest for appam stew. homi writes in the hope of being able to buy prawns to make patiyo.

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