“He never asked my name” : Story of Abir

[There are some things still exist on earth, we can’t find a name for them. Just like, sometimes, we feel a relation which can’t be named, but it has a hidden beauty wrapped with an innocent purpose. This relationships are so pure, so true, that we never look at the person we care for, we are feeling for, but love to think about and cherish the moments we had together. We just remain it as the flow of the river does, to flow with time, and let it be, whatever wants to be. We don’t put our mind on this kind of relationship, that’s why, we can feel the true essence of a bonding at its core. This is all about the wish of our heart, and what it craves for. After many years, when we look back at these days, may be, we can’t remember the person’s face, but, we can remember what he/she said, what we felt at that moment, what was spoken between us, and, what left unspoken. We still find what was the name of that relation between us, which bloomed in the garden of heart, breathed in some special moments of our life, but, eventually ended in the road of dusts. Although, we have locked the door of this past, but sometimes, memories wish to knock at the door of heart, to recount that relation of us. When we open the door, it whispers in our ears,

“I want to remain, nameless.”

Two days ago, I was having a conversation about this with my circle of people. While conversing with a junior of me, I came across a beautiful story regarding this type of relationship. It’s a true story of his college days. I asked him to write me the story, and he did so. Here is the story written by Aniruddha Bhandari. He has changed the name of characters and added a li’l bit of fiction to the real story. Have a look.]


A Nameless Relation (1)

Some Relationships do not have and do not require a name. These are nameless connections that we make with other people… or sometimes with other things.    

“My name is Abir”, this I never got a chance to tell him; because he never asked for my name. He always affectionately called me “Beta”. And I also never knew his name or where he lived. Our short interactions were far between and each time it lasted for less than a minute.

It was long time back, yet, I still remember him clearly.

He was around 50 years old but looked much older than his age. The most vivid features of his visage were his dark complexion, round big face and a broad nose. I always saw him wearing wide pajama and a light colored shirt which was invariably dirty. His shirt was usually stripped with top two buttons always undone through which his darkish chest with salt-and-pepper hair used peep out. He wore worn-out slippers when sweeping the streets. I sometimes would bump into him as he swept the street between the post office and the government hospital in Mehrauli. Well, I should rather say it was he who used to bump into me.

Some relationships are nameless.

He, an aged looking employee of the Municipal Corporation, used to clean the streets in his assigned area early in the morning. He, probably, tried to finish his work as early as possible because as the sun rises the streets would start reeling under footfalls and wheels. This would make gathering dirt and garbage difficult for him. I used to leave home every day for school at around 6:30 in the morning. By that time, on most of the days, he would be gone having finished his job. This was the reason why we used to meet only occasionally.

Whenever he would spot me walking towards school he would forget about sweeping and would come near me. I was about 10 or 11 years old at that time. I used to feel very embarrassed having attracted his attention on the road. It was embarrassing enough for a little kid to walk on crutches and being spotted by someone was almost horrendous. I used to walk on crutches thinking that no one is seeing me walking like this. But if that sweeper would spot me -he would loudly call and come running towards me. I felt that my disability was the only reason why people used to notice me and they would be attracted towards me only out of pity.

He would come near me dragging his long broom behind him and, without saying anything else, he would ask only one question:

“What standard are you in beta?”

Sometimes I even remembered that he had asked me the same question just a couple of months back. On this realization, my deep embarrassment about his noticing me would almost turn into anger and sometimes I used to consider curtly saying:

“Didn’t I tell you this sometime ago?”

I don’t know why but I never let it happen and my answer used to be proper and shortest possible:

“Sixth standard”

Hearing my answer his face would beam with happiness. He would put the long stick of his broom on his chest for support and would raise both of his hands in the fashion of blessing. Then smilingly he would utter his best wishes and blessings:

“Long live son, study hard, study hard”

While saying these words his face would reflect deep expression of satisfaction. Such peacefulness and cool used to be there in his heart, which was evident on his face, but that is very difficult to describe. Having spoken his wishes he would go back to his place and resume collecting dirt and garbage from roadside. Years went by like this. Nothing changed in this entire story except for my answer which changed annually:

“Seventh standard”

“Eight standard”

“Ninth standard”

“Tenth standard”

“Eleventh standard”

I doubt if he remembered whether I had progressed since he last inquired me about my school. Nevertheless, my answer would bring true joy and satisfaction to him . In early years, I used to feel that this fellow should not come near me because I hated people noticing me on crutches. And if he had to come near me then he should just let me go at the earliest. But as I grew up I started to feel a bond with this person. I understood that the wishes and blessings that he uttered were coming from the core of his heart.

There used to be several months between our two meetings on the street. Today, I don’t even remember when I met him last. All I can say is that ever since it has been a very long time. Today he might not even be alive but I still remember his big round face. And I remember the only two sentences he ever spoke to me:

“What standard are you in beta?”

“Long live son, study hard, study hard”

He did not say anything else and kept repeating these two sentences year after year while admiring my courage and struggle against the nature’s injustice of affecting me with polio.

I never asked for his name. And he never asked for mine.

There are some relationships in life that are nameless…

2 responses to ““He never asked my name” : Story of Abir”

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