Most of the time now, he eats only a rice-lentil gruel, khichri.
His life has been bland anyway, by general standards.
Not that he hasn’t had and even enjoyed a dish of rich spicy biryani now and then
Or a kokum flavoured red chilli adorned fish curry
But these were exceptions , and that too, a long time ago.
He wears cotton clothes , worn out greys, browns and blues , mostly ,
Lungis at home , trousers when he goes out ,
His shirts are bush shirts now, though he wore some rather smart tuck-ins
When he was younger.
When was that ? The gecko staring at him
From her right eye , pink and peaceful
Cannot believe he was ever young .
He eyes her passively , barely registering
Her slow slithering movements
Or her still cautious pauses.
A cockroach hovers tentatively
By his unwashed dinner plate
Waiting to feast on the sticky remains
Of khichri still clinging here and there
That have escaped the casual angles
Of his tinny teaspoon .
He needs no books no screens not even the radio
That he sometimes switches on out of sheer habit
His thoughts are enough , and the memories
Of an uneventful life . He knows
He has a visitor waiting for him
Who is actually a messenger
A courier fetching and carrying
Across the bounds of consciousness and time .
He is prepared. And patient.
A sparrow cocks her head
Hearing footfalls.

( ASA )

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