Aseem stood in the center of a busy street laughing. He had been robbed moments ago. And the thief was a kid. You might think it is funny, but getting mugged by a kid is no laughing matter. A knife wielding kid is a lot more dangerous than an adult. And you feel a pang of shame when you retell the incident. Aseem never dreamt that he would be robbed. Poor people like him do not dream of getting robbed. They dream of getting rich. But he was sure, if he had dreamt of getting robbed, there would be a mustachioed, scary-looking, burly dacoit at the other end of a pointed sword. No, make it two dacoits.
Aseem laughed not because he found it funny. His laughter was a wail of desperation. The bloody kid has taken all the earnings of his life. And now he was penniless. He had no money to pay the rent of his shack anymore. No money to even bribe the noble policemen if and when he would go to lodge a complaint. He was a pauper who had once again been reduced to a pauper today.
Aseem’s wife was admitted to the hospital. Medicine that costs a lot to the poor (but would be worth loose change to the rich) was all that could have saved her, else today would be the last day of her life. He needed to put in every penny that he had earned into the hands of the Doctor so that he could save the love of his life. He had borrowed money from moneylenders. He had no job – no body employs a “nobody”. Friends, he had lost long ago. Now all he had were the clothes on his body. Such was the sad story, that even his enemies had deserted him, leaving him to fend for himself. They say that when the chips are down, even a dog will spit at you. The irony was not missing on Aseem – he had been robbed in broad daylight by a skinny kid in shorts wielding a knife that was as big as the kid himself.
Who was Aseem? Aseem was a poet. A writer. A thinker. Or at least that was what he thought of himself. An eccentric genius. He would have been a blogger, if there was internet in his time. You see, he lived in an age, where there was no internet, no cars, nothing. Just the simple tragedies of life in black and white. He would have been a celebrated writer, if someone published his ramblings. But who had time for a drunken poet. So he spent all his day doing odd jobs here and there, eking out a living one day at a time. And he would bring curtains to the day by entertaining anybody who would bother to hear him with crooked tales that would sound incomprehensible to a sane mind. Such was his life. It was sad, but rosy.
Today, it had all ended. As the sun set on the bustling street, the creeping shadows clouded his vision. He did not know where to go. He did not know what to do. His laughter – no one in the street bothered to even throw a cursory glance at him. He was invisible to the busy eyes of people. It was like he never existed in the eyes of the townsfolk. His eyes, they had been sucked dry off even tears. It appeared even tears had betrayed him along with his destiny. Would someone sympathize with him? And would their sympathies be of any help to him.
When he was born, the street astrologer foretold that Aseem would one day rule the world. And everybody had a good laugh at it. Especially the astrologer, he was paid in full. His parents slept hungry that night – with a smile on their face, mind you. Poverty can lead to strange sources of happiness.
What became of him? The answer stood behind him. The only pair of eyes looking at him all the time. Cold, emotionless, black kohl lined eyes they were. But the answer was locked in those eyes.