Friday, November 11, 2016

Moist eyes staring at Gandhi

He was there with rough hands & yearning eyes, trying to get into the bank. As the sun and sweat spoke through him, the security guard did not find him worthy enough to enter an air conditioned multinational bank which was the hot spot for the day. He had a lone 500 rupee note in his hand, a legally worthless piece of paper some said, tightly held as a prized possession. He seemed edgy, almost lost. He mildly begged the guard to let him in, asking for alternatives simultaneously before narrating his story - A daily wage laborer, he was given the note as payment for today and an advance for the next four days. What seemed like an indecipherable gracious act to begin with, was understood as a practical play by his contractor who did not have a 100 rupee note for his today's wage. He was unaware of the black money surgical strike saga until he was laughably denied change at the groceries. Some educated well dressed men, he said, at the expense of their precious time with cigarettes, guided him through the story and to the closest bank where he would find tenderable change. He needs help, he gasped, "please", nearly reaching his hands lower - "how will I go home, how will we eat tonight?". The guard loosened his stiff stance, placing his hand on the non-existent protagonist's shoulder - "I am sorry brother, we were instructed to allow entry only till 5 PM, and there's a long queue inside… I am afraid I can't let you in"… He looked at that note, horrified, enraged, defeated, his moist eyes staring at the smiling face of Mahatma Gandhi on the note, who quoted 'Nobody can hurt me without my permission' …

If you have a credit card and can manage without change for a couple of days, please don't rush to the bank & ATM … Some people's survival depends on it, don't take away their spot … 

© Abhishek 'Banjara' Pandurangi



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