Outside the station, he was a familiar sight
in the middle of the bustling street
He cried out the lord’s name
in a cadence that matched the ebb and surge of the crowd
Ignored by the trampling feet
that parted as it passed him
He burnt his body brown, on the scorching road
No aped in a melting rag
He first numbed my senses
But soon I became one with the flowing crowd
We swept past, always afraid to see him
Lest we become uncomfortable with own comfort
One day he disappeared
For days was missing from scene
Every time I reached the spot and realized his absence
Guilt knocked loudly in my heart
A friend who shared my concern said
She had seen him a couple of times
But more than once had hoped for his release
For his life, she was sure, had no purpose to meet
Her words made me see him as human
and then I wondered about his name
Who was he, who bought him there, where did he spend his nights?
Was he born like this or was his state created by another?
I wanted to ask someone around about him
And hoped he was fine
But I felt ashamed of taking interest in a beggar
And silenced my instinct lest people laughed
Years passed and I changed paths
Never did I enquire about that man
But that act of hesitation, shames even today
Protecting my pride, I let myself lose my humanity
Could I have done something for him?
Yes, I could have acknowledged his existence.
For I know every man has his own handicaps
And whatever his status has his role to play
Is he still alive despite all the odds
Maybe it is not too late to know
if he still lies there begging on the road,
tough like a rock around whom the river of life everyday flows.