His mind wasn’t as crisp as the morning he took a brisk walk down the dusty road zigzagging amidst concrete buildings that reeked with greed and rustic owners. Once upon a time this was an open space where he slept on haystacks with his friends, when the sun seemed brighter and the winds blew without care, when people were forgiving and times merrier. Less was more then.

Now the concrete structures cast ominous shadows diminishing the openness of both the land and the sky and people with lackluster faces rushed about their day’s business; their strides unwittingly racing against their angst.

It just as well that now people have time only for themselves, that friendly neighbours are a passé for this morning there is only one direction and one destination in his mind and intermittent interruptions would have changed his course. But if people did have a look at him, they would have seen the dawn of his end.

As he waited to cross the expressway, cars dashed by- each one seeming to have a purpose more urgent than the other. It was all about food once, now it is about more…much much more! School kids tapped their feet impatiently for the traffic policeman to stop the cars and let the kids pass through the zebra crossing. When the policeman signaled the kids to pass, a stray dog that joined the pedestrians was the first one to pass, with such majestic grandeur - with face up and tiny butts wiggling - and such mighty confidence in human race that humans did not possess in them for each other. As he followed through with the kids and the dog, he felt a surge of mixed emotions for both the kinds.

He hopped over the knee-high railing by the roadside onto a patch of wild grasses glistening with morning dews. He bent down for a closer look to appreciate the beauty of such nature’s formation. As he attempted to pick up droplet gently on his finger, it broke its form and ran down to the side of his finger. A sudden sadness gripped his heart for not being able to hold its form..for destroying something so beautiful that could have lasted longer had he just observed and not touched.

He took off his shoes to get rid off the barrier between his feet and the earth. He felt the freshness of the grasses and stood still for sometime to allow its therapeutic effect to spread in him, not that he needed it anymore but it was one of the lasts of everything for him. Abandoning the shoes, he walked from the grasses to feel the hardness of the land ripped to its bare with civilization’s aftermath and finally reached the river side.

As he sat by the river side with his feet dipped into the water, he wondered what would the world think of him?

But he was sure a good word or two would be spared for him too for this is how he has seen the world treat the ones who have left – a kind word or two to nullify all other kind of words they have said while the person was living.

As he slid deeper and deeper into the water, he hoped the readings of his birth astrology were accurate and that this was the last of any karmic life forms for him. He believed that perhaps he was from another time, that he was a defect from God’s factory when he was produced for not for a single minute has he ever felt a sense of belonging to either his kind or this world. As he sank deeper into the water and gasped for breath, he hoped those close to him would forgive him for this act but he was sure the grief would be temporary. This act that he resorted to was based on his understandings about this world – that hell, heaven and earth are all in this world, experienced by different people at different times, different manners and in different ways, and that the human kind is both the kindest and the cruelest of species. He desperately needed to exit the melodrama.

For the last second when his face surfaced above the water, it was in a long sigh of relief that his breath left him and the abandoned pair of shoes were the last of his connections to this world.

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