Tough Guy

Ibrahim Waheed “Kalaavehi”

The sun will set on a beautiful Thursday as well. And if you find yourself on the famous ‘Three Palm Point’ just off the Villingili Ferry Terminal, you can almost always treat yourself to a wonderful Thursday sunset. And then, when the display is over, when tropical darkness drops down from the sky to hug you in its gloom, you can go home to whatever you do just before the Friday sleep-in.

That is, unless you are cursed like I am.

You see, I have a strange curse on me. If you sit down somewhere, feeling lonely and sad, I will hear you talking to yourself. If I am within two yards of you!

That was why last Thursday I found myself on my motorbike, hugging the darkness off Three Palm Point, way past the sunset hour. For I kept hearing a voice nearby. And soon I saw her!

A quiet little thing in a drab dress sat on one of those circular concrete benches around the sickliest of the three stunted coconut palms for which the place was informally named. She was nothing more than a silhouette against the shimmer of the boat lights and the sea. And I could hear her heart complaining to herself and yet no one in particular.

“I didn’t envy the lucky people in this world.
I didn’t hate the lucky people in this world.
I always took great joy in their good fortune.
I didn’t blame the lucky people in this world.
I blessed them, for they had more than what I wanted for myself.
I saw the rich and the wealthy and didn’t feel pity for myself.
They had the money and they felt they could buy everything in this world with it.
They tried hard to buy love and respect, or even a little bit of sympathy and care.
They would always fail, I knew.
All I asked for was a decent, clean little bit of love.
Today I see the lucky few who have stars in their eyes and love in their hearts.
I see happiness in their smiles.
I see wonder on their faces.
I can hear the sweet melody of soul mates who have found each other and managed to call it fulfilled life.
And ….. I never asked for anything more than just a little bit of happiness.
Even a little bit left over after everyone else had eaten.
All I asked for was just one little moment of bliss.
All I would ever have would now be dark and lonely nights.
No star would twinkle in my life: I know I hoped and prayed for one…..
Perhaps even a broken star that no one else would want.
I would have put the pieces together and called it my own.
I begged fate without shame.
And fate made me a poorer beggar!”

Somewhere in the distance, through a mist that no one else saw, I saw the faint outline of a star that used to light my way. A star long since rolled into the used-up skies of days gone by. A star that shattered itself protecting me. A star whose broken parts I could not glue together.

And somewhere in the distance, I thought I heard the last verse of an old Hindi song I used to listen to.

Mili hai chaandni din ko, yeh unki apni kismat hai
Mujhe apne muqaddar se faqat itni shikaayat hai
Mujhe toota hua koi sitaara mil gaya hota
Agar toofaan nahin aata, kinaara mil gaya hota
Mujhe teri mohabbat ka sahaara mil gaya hota

And then I understood what she was going through. I saw new meaning in the tears that coursed down her cheeks in the dusk as she sat hurt, looking at the place on the horizon where a dying sun had not left any marks. I sat on my motorcycle just a couple of yards away, feeling her hurt. And I, a perfect stranger, could do nothing. Should do nothing. And yet, I felt a silent tear welling up in my eye.

“Oh, come on! What do you care? Go away, before it begins to hurt you too much!” I said to myself, as I kicked the engine to life. It was not my war to fight. It wasn’t even my battle. Or simple sortie.

I rode away all right. But I still lost that little fight. I hope no one saw the suppressed tear in my eye.

For after all, I was a tough guy going home just before the guys came over for a night of darts and Diet Coke.

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  • jaa  On March 31, 2010 at 1:34 am

    I liked this one! 🙂

  • mystery  On April 16, 2010 at 9:27 am

    This is Lovely!

  • mystery  On April 16, 2010 at 9:27 am

    This is brilliant!

  • silentfingers  On August 1, 2010 at 3:04 pm

    “I begged fate without shame. and fate made me a poorer beggar!”
    Such eloquence and beauty. Every word of it kissed the depths of my heart.

    • ldive  On September 6, 2010 at 3:12 am

      Thank heavens! A kiss is all your heart deserves. May He keep the cruel claws of Time far away from your heart!

  • shifa  On August 4, 2010 at 12:11 am

    so real

    • ldive  On September 6, 2010 at 3:05 am

      It is based on a real observation

  • mysterystar  On February 3, 2011 at 10:34 pm

    muqaddar means fate

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