One last step…
It was a sluggish Sunday afternoon and the sun was giving his paramount performance that day. It pelted every ounce of energy it could gather from the fusion reactions, during those hours of daylight, as if to show-off to the human race that some things are beyond their domination. The intense summer heat of Nagpur is afar description, beyond words and provides a mind-boggling portrait. The heat literally cuts the skin and tries to penetrate on the insides of our body liberating every ounce of water through pores. As we gasp for air some more heat finds its way through the nostrils. Every movement becomes comatose, lethargic and exhausting. The head feels droopy and heavy, sagging sideways like a pendulum, pouncing on every manageable chance of catching a few ‘z’s (catnap).
So there I was standing in such agonizing state waiting for a bus which kind-off eloped with other men. As I was cursing the Mother Nature I saw a man pass by. He was old but still energetic, togged up in a soiled shirt and a mucky dhoti, barefoot on a road which was searing with extreme heat. He was sprinting ahead like a horse as if he had a definite objective to achieve. He galloped ahead in haste and with each footstep he murmured something as if reassuring himself of the good times ahead.
Soon he was on the other side of the road and his haste was easy to comprehend. It was his little daughter standing barefoot on the other side of the road, weeping in pain as the sizzling heat of the sun had converted the road in a frying pan roasting her teeny-weeny feet. She was too little to figure her way out of the circumstances or find a shade, so she cried, which for her was a trouble-free solution to all her pains. She was damn sure her father would reach out to her, hearing her wail. This totally amazed me when I saw such divergent conduct from a tiny girl incapable of finding small answers to her problems but exceedingly aware of the complexities of a parent-child relationship.
The story is not over yet. The man quickly lifted her up, pacified her and rubbed his hands on her feet to calm her down. She was back to her juvenile self and was on cloud nine to find her father near her. The man again started walking down the road, carrying her daughter barefoot, muttering the same sound but this time I did hear him when he passed again. The man constantly repeated something in Marathi which is as follows:
“ Ek paul ankhi…ek paul ankhi…ek paul ankhi…”
It means “Just one more step…just one more step…just one more step… “.
His words shook me up from top to bottom, it took me a little while to come out of deep contemplation but the whole incident gave me a new strength for survival. If a man with such bare minimum chattels can subsist with dignity and such inner strength why can’t we do it with so much on hand.
Many of us will believe in a dictum which says “survival of the fittest” (In this scenario it will mean either be rich or live a downgraded life). But this maxim “survival of the fittest” is for animals and is apt for a jungle. Neither we are animals nor do we live in a jungle so let’s be humans first and live with grace, dignity and strength. No doubt money should be valued but it should not be given a significant importance in life. What actually matters in our lives is the willpower to take one more step towards our goal, just one more, so that someday “one more step” becomes the “one last step.”