A man is broken by copious things. Hunger remains to be rmost enduring among all. Fresh morning, I wanted to sleep some more. I knew, once I will be awake my body will starve for the food and I had only water to survive with. Thank god it is free! might not remain free in future. I decided to remain laid as far as I can. I was only left with 20 bucks in my purse. Life is tough in Mumbai for a struggler who is looking for work. I have seen people waiting at the audition queues and tracing them again at the Versova Gurudwara in the langar line in night and even sometime in other temples where Bhandara takes place. That’s the idea for sustainable life in this unlimited city.
Last day only I had narration with a director, he said he will let me know. So I have to wait and this waiting costs you a lot. Emptiness in my stomach goes out of my control. I woke up, brushed up, checked my kitchen and literally everything there was empty. I moved out of room, I thought I would have vada pav. On my way I checked my bank balance. Good thing I had money to pay rent of my room for the next month or food for remaining 29 days of this month and I was rich with 20 rupees in my pocket right now. Vada Pav shop was closed. I walked little more to find the another stall. I was looking around. I heard from side.
‘Excuse me!’ I turned into the direction of voice. I saw a middle aged man wearing white shirt, riding on a cycle loaded with big dishes. Soon I have figured out it, he is an Idili seller.
‘Yes’ I said.
‘Will you like to have idili? Man asked.
‘No’ I nodded.
‘I sell 4 idlies for 20 rupees’ Man sounded to be South Indian by his accent.
I thought in my mind, One vada pav for 15 rupess. Four idilies for 20 rupess good deal.
‘Ok pack it’
He wrapped it up. I came back to my room. I open the food packet and wonder happened. He has mistakenly gave me 5 idilies. I ate it and it was good.
Next day again I went down for vada pav. This time I found this idili guy standing there. I went to him.
‘Pack 20 rupeess idili’ He did it.
I came back and when I open the packet I again found 5 pieces of Iidli. Next day I received call for a meeting. I was in a hurry so I skipped the breakfast that day. I came back in evening with an assignment which I will be paid for and it’s a big thing in your initial days in Mumbai. Finally I can buy some grocery and be happy for next 2 months.
Next morning I went to have idili by the same person but didn’t able to trace him there. I waited for some moments there but he didn’t appear. I end up having vada pav and returned to room. I started working on the given assignment. I have to translate a Hindi book into English soon I have received the initial amount. I was happy having my desired food. Few days got elapsed away.
Each morning I used to go in the search of the idili man but end up having vada pav. In next few weeks my assignment was done. I was again workless but this time I have financial backup for next 3 months, so I was not so worried.
Same routine, each morning I used to go for my breakfast. I have almost forgotten that idili man. But lifes gives you surprises when you are not ready for it all.
This time I caught him. I went nearby his cycle, he was surrounded few customers. From a distance I looked at him, he was busy serving his customers. I thought he would recognize me. I went nearby him and smiled looking at him. He didn’t smile back. I felt little embracing.
‘You want idili? He asked me.
‘Yes’ I replied, gave him 20 rupees.
‘You want to eat here or take away?
‘Take away’ I replied. He was looking totally different man from before. I don’t know why I didn’t find his vibes sanguine. He wrapped up idilies and handled me. I took it and walked back to my room. On my way back to room I was constantly thinking about his discourteous comportment. I don’t know why it was hurting me so much. He is just a seller and I am just a buyer. I open up the idili pack in my room and it was heart breaking to find 4 idilies in the pocket. I know I have paid for only 4 pieces but still it was not going well with me. I ate it and not decided not take his service from him in future. I used to daily go for the breakfast at the same spot but I continued having vada pav. I used to daily see him there serving his customers.
After four months, I was moneyless again. Either home rent or food one I have to chose. One fine morning, I didn’t wanted to woke up, I knew there is only a 50 rupess note in my purse. Hunger was over my head, I went to have vada pav but the shop was closed. Idili man was there. I had no option rather to but to avail his service. He was terrific at making idilies, only my ego kept me away from him since so many days and one more thing hunger kills ego.
I went to nearby him and asked to pack 20 rupess idilies. I came to my room. I was excited to eat I was hungry and his idilies are always superb. I open the packet with the expectations of 4 idilies but I found 5 again. This number game was totally out of head. Next day I decided to ask him and pay him for all those extra idilies because he has always given me extra idilies whenever I was utmost hungry.
Next morning I went there. There was crowd, I made my way between the crowd and reached to the spot of the idili man only to discover that his cycle was lying on the ground, idili and sambhar was flowing down the road. I heard people saying and high speed car hit his shop and ran away, ambulance has taken away idili man and two of his injured customers to hospital. There was all blank in front of eyes. Felt the pain like someone has hit my own family member. I have asked few people where does he live but nobody knew anything. I was helpless, I can only pray for his wellbeing. I returned back to my room and didn’t fell hungry that day. You sought to feel like having nothing when you are numb.
His accident was frightening me, somehow I wanted to know about him and his situation. I have visited a government hospital near my area. I got to know from there that 14 accidents cases have been in the hospital same day and none of them are fatal. I felt little relief. Next day I went for the breakfast. I saw his ruptured cycle and dishes were lying there. I felt disappointed looking at the scenario but I was happy that he was alive. I ate vada pav and came back. I got new assignment so for next few months I was a tension free guy.
After 3 months. I was again out of work and money and I had only option for the vada pav. One fine morning I went to have vada pav but the shop was closed. I heard from back.
‘Do you want to have idili? I got injected with happiness. I turned back and found it is some other young guy on his cycle. I was disillusioned not to find my idili man.
‘No’ I nodded my head.
‘I give 3 idilies for 20 rupees’ the guy said. I was hungry and I had no options.
‘Ok pack it’ I said. The guy packed the idili. I returned back and open the packet I found 4 idilies. It amazed me. How can it be so possible?
Next day I went to him. I unswervingly asked him.
‘Are you the son of man who used to sell idili here? Where is he? How is he?’
‘Yes I am his son and he is not any more’
I was tremor to snoop about his demise ‘What? But he didn’t died on the accident day’
‘Yes, he died 10 days later, his injury was deep’
‘Sad to hear this, I am sorry’ I said and put my hand on his shoulder.
‘Thank you’ he replied with a smile.
‘Brother, yesterday you gave me one extra idili just like your father’
‘Opps sorry by mistake, I did so’ He said.
‘No problem, I will pay for it’ I said.
‘And what did you just said my used to give you extra idili?
‘Yes, might be by mistake’ I said.
‘No, not by mistake” He said.
‘He used to make 20 idilies extra so that he could give extra to the people who are more hungry and can’t afford, he had sense to catch hunger from a person’s face. He used to tell me that he knows people by hunger not by face, since morning 5 people had told me that how they have received extra idili when they were hungry’
His answer awestricken me. I was speech less for few moments and I rewind my life and found that the day I was more hungry and constrained yes I have got exra idili by him. I came back in my sense ‘True bro’
‘Yeah’ he nodded .
‘He was a hero’ I said ‘Do you study?’
‘I will be joining railway’ He replied.
‘What was his name?’ I asked.
‘Surya is Sun in English and your father was like a fresh morning, He was man with morning’ I smiled