In front of the temple
right across the footpath
he sits.
He sits there all day
with a bowl and a bag.
A saffron cloth,
now turned brown
is all he dons
with chains of holy beads
hanging from his neck
where also rests
a trident.

Who is he?
I think nobody knows.
He’s got no friends
he’s got no attention
people walk by him
like he doesn’t exist
though some offer
a coin or a note;
empathy or penance,
only they know.
Mostly ignored,
I wonder if he cares.

I doubt
if he is a spy
if he is a begger
if he is a lazy man
ditching work to live with alms
or if he is a messenger of God
keeping a tab on the sins we commit
or a reincarnation of God himself
waiting to save us and the world
from some impending doom.

What does he know?
He doesn’t look like
he read some holy books
or would pen down an epic,
but he looks like a Godman
and his sharp eyes tell me
may be
he knows something we do not know.
But what if you talk to him
and prove me wrong
when you find out
he is just another
illiterate begger.

The dichotomy of thought
can be confusing at times
negating whatever you think
into a thin air of nothingness.

I didn’t notice
the light turning green
cars behind me honk
I summon my fickle mind
and shift the gear.
I move forward,
he sits there
and ignored.

© Barnadhya Rwitam

Featured Photo is by Dil on Unsplash

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