K is for Kitten

The person on the bike in front of me didn’t move even after all the vehicles in front of him had moved and I thought, “Oof, a stall so early in the morning. Poor guy.”. I made a move to go around him, but he stuck his hand out and I halted. I looked at him and followed his line of sight onto the road where there was a tiny kitten looking very agitated and confused, at everything around it. It all happened within a fraction of seconds – I braked hard and like a daisychain of hands stuck my hand to stop the vehicle on my right, but the person who stopped hadn’t seen the cause yet and the car on his right moved on, in the interval of which the kitten had darted across the road right in the path of this car. I yelled inconsequentially. The car, incredibly luckily moved right over the kitten and it stood there unscathed. Two men on the bike I’d stopped yelled at me for all of 3 seconds before grasping the situation themselves. I yelled back, asking them to help me catch the kitten and release it to safety. One of them jumped to action and stopped the goods vehicle behind him and the other guy and I ran behind the kitten, our vehicles abandoned on the middle of the road. The next minute was a blur, in which the kitten had managed to find himself stuck right on top of the wheel of the goods vehicle Boy ‘A’ had just stopped. With Boy ‘B”s help, we carefully extricated the kitten from under the vehicle and amidst its frantic, clueless struggles to get free, picked it up and dropped it off at a building by the side of the pavement. By now, a longer line of vehicles had assembled, blocked by our vehicles in the way. Relieved and satisfied about the kitten’s safety, we hastily got back onto our vehicles and thanked each other awkwardly.

It was a small thing, but I shudder to think what would have happened if the first biker had been just as carefree and careless as the rest of us. What if he’d been as apathetic as the biker on his left who in fact, scolded this guy callously and moved on even after assessing the scene? What if he hadn’t noticed the struggling kitten in his path and stopped sensibly?

But he did.

And as long as there are people who will stop for a kitten, the world will never be a bleak place.

C’est La Vie

Recently at the theater, I accidentally stood up in attention for the Vicco Vajradanti ad expecting the National Anthem in the sequence.
To my surprise there was another dude who’d also stood up. He was looking around the theater in embarrassment. Our eyes met. I instinctively and hastily waved at him, breaking my fixed posture. In that split second, he also understood and waved back and even grinned for good measure. I gestured wildly to mock-indicate that I’d catch up with him later. He understood and gestured appropriately.
As I resumed my seat, I wondered how wonderfully and smoothly that whole episode had gone. I shook out of my reverie to see a bunch of people glaring at me for remaining in my seat.

The Anthem had actually started.

A is for Adieu [#AtoZChallenge]

He stood at the back of the crowd, not wanting to be a part of it, not wanting to talk to anybody. Everyone had varied emotions on their faces – sadness, indifference, even joy? But they were probably happy about something else, surely. A funeral was not really place that induced happiness, even if it was for someone who was your mortal enemy. And Vincent liked to think he hadn’t made any enemies in his lifetime; well, none that would attend his funeral anyway. It was an odd feeling, to linger around, incorporeally, within spitting distance of his own physical body. It was also funny, in a sense. When he had been alive, he had often wondered what people really thought of him. A deep sense of insecurity and cynicism had always shrouded him in social settings and he’d always questioned if any of what was happening around him was real. If the way people spoke, the things they said, if any of it was genuine. He had heard a tale as a child, of a king, who would often disguise himself and wander around his kingdom as a commoner, just to find out what his people thought of him as a person. And Vincent had been very taken with the idea. But it wasn’t practical obviously. And now that he was dead, but lingering in spirit, he was doing the very thing he’d always wanted to do. Well, it wasn’t the same. There was nothing he could do with whatever he learnt, but it was…something. So he leaned against the wall behind him and listened. “He was such a friendly person, always ready to help”, a woman sniffed. Vincent inadvertently smiled. Of course he’d always helped Julia. His only regret was that he’d never asked her out like he’d wanted to. “Really?”, Archie exclaimed, “He was always busy whenever I asked for help!”. Hmph. Archie had been such an annoying person. Vincent had, for the longest time, out of the kindness of his heart, always picked up the phone whenever his classmate, Archie had called, even after graduation. But it seemed after a point, that Archie had always required help, maybe a little too much. And eventually, he, Vincent had stopped answering Archie’s calls. He could hardly be faulted for that. He got tired. “What about all the times I Did help you Arch?”, Vincent muttered to himself. In another corner of the room, John and James were laughing away. “I know right!”, John guffawed, “What was he thinking putting him on as striker?”. Vincent rolled his eyes. He wondered why they’d come. Maybe they’d just seen this as more as a way to catch up and less of a scene for paying respects. His eyes wandered around the room as he saw other familiar faces, and some unfamiliar ones. The air grew silent as the priest slowly stepped up to the pulpit and called for the eulogy. He watched his sister, Mary slowly walked up, ashen faced. She had undoubtedly been crying. Vincent watched as Mary spoke about her version of his life. How he had been the best brother ever. “Thanks for lying, Mary”, Vincent thought. They had been close as children, but had drifted apart as adults, only ever meeting for the holidays. But still, those days Had been fun. He continued to watch as Mary finished her speech and his best friend, Tom took her place. Tom’s tone was less bleak. Trust Tom to liven things up even at a funeral. He even told them about an embarassing incident that had taken place during college that they’d sworn they’d take to the grave. Well, a promise broken eh Tom?

The ceremony ended and people were beginning to say their goodbyes. First, to Vincent’s body in the casket and then to each other. As he saw them leaving, his thoughts went back to the final moments before life had left his body. He never saw the car coming till that last second when he did. His whole life had flashed before his eyes like in the movies. Or had that been the headlights of the car? Why hadn’t he felt any pain? Why wasn’t he given the chance to fight for his life? ….Would he have fought though? He didn’t know. Now it all seemed pointless anyway.

He sighed deeply. Is this how death was supposed to feel? … Hollow? Then again, why should death be any different than life? He smiled to himself at the grim thought and slowly walked out of the church with his hand raised high and waving adieu to an imaginary crowd behind him. Everyone else had already left.