The WALKER

I peeped out of the main door.
There was a striking innocence in his small eyes buried under those thick eyebrows. He had a long beard & a green hat over his rough hair.
In a moment Grandpa paused their conversation and turned to me. His eyes too pointed towards me. I gave the most innocent smile that a six year old can give. Grandpa gestured with his hands to come. I quickly made my seat over his arm rest of the easy-chair. I kept eyes on at the old man who is still smiling at me. I exchanged looks with my Grandpa in a confusion on what to say.
‘This is Divakar.’ He said to me. I looked at him. He is still wearing that smile.
‘My granddaughter. Shaji‘s little one.’ Grandpa introduced me to him.
I gaped gratefully at my Grandpa for introducing me to an Old man. They continued the conversation. I vaguely listened to them. The only words familiar was Indira Gandhi & Rajiv Gandhi. I was thinking about the shabby Old man who seems to be having the same age as my Grandpa. Grandpa was still handsome in his 80s. Wearing a white Khadhi shirt & dhothi. He has a clean bald head which reflects every rays of sunlight falling over it. Had clean wrinkled hands with perfectly shaped nails.
Grandpa took a sip from his daily drink of milk with some other cereals & gave the half filled glass to me. In no time I finished the remaining. It was always like that; till the day he took his last breath, I always owned his half glass of daily drink. My mom made it with every love, care & respect that she can give to her Father-in-law. My Grandpa was an angel for me. Being the last girl in that big family of 40+ members I owned a special consideration from him.
Divakar possessed the same spark in Grandpa’s eyes. He was wearing a torn shirt, dirty hands with long nails, carried a small metal tin and a cloth bag over his shoulder. It seemed like he hasn’t taken a bath for years. At the end of the conversation Grandpa took a coin and told me to give that to him. I placed that coin in his hard hand. Making a clinging voice he put that in to his metal tin. He gave me a bow saying “Santhosham (Happy), Thank You!”. I gave a wee smile back in the joy of recieveing a bow from an old man. He walked towards the gate & disappeared.
I asked my Grandpa “Is he a beggar? ”
“No, he is the Walker.”

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Years passed. Without any hint Grandpa passed away. I left my old school & joined a Govt. school nearby. Demise of Grandpa brought about a lot of changes in our life. Dad was shattered because of losing his father. The joint family split to several nuclear families. More free time for me made me a book addict.
One day while I was sitting in a portico encountering Les Miserables by Victor Hugo in my age of 10, the same Divakar entered wearing the same shirt he had worn 4 years before. Without making any pause I returned with his usual. A coin. I dipped it in his same metal tin.
‘Reading?’ He asked
‘Yes’ I replied
‘Which one?’
‘Les Miserables’
He made an amusing face & asked: ‘How old are you?, Ten, Right?’
I nodded.
He made a deep sigh and continued. ‘Les Miserables.. Victor Hugo.. Jean Vaal Jean.. Read, Read..Someone who reads is powerful.. If not now, once you will surely get the benefit’
He again bowed with a smile & Thanked. Waved and continued his walking with that penny taking his steps carefully.
I stood there looking at him. He got a long bamboo pole now a days, used as walking stick.

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Few months back, my niece ran to me yelling that someone is at the door. I took her to the door and saw Divakar standing there with a peaceful smile. His beard turned white. His body seems to be too tired. I offered him water. After having the drink I told my niece to place the penny in his hand. She placed the coin in his hand reminding me of the day I first met him.
‘Your kid? ‘
‘No, sister’s, They are on leave from Qatar.’
‘Ha, It’s been a long time since I met you.’
‘Yeah, I was abroad.’
‘Now?’
‘Working as an Architect in Cochin.’
‘Good. May God bless you both. Thank You!’
He once again held my niece’s hand & waved at her. She waved back. He continued his walk.
‘Who is that?’ My niece asked.
‘It’s Divakar’
TheWalker?’ She enquired
‘Yes, The Walker’

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July 31st 2015.
The world was still mourning on the loss of our beloved Dr. A P J Abdul Kalam. I was dying to give an end to the month cause 2015 July gave me so many demises & sad stories. Death always haunts me. I went through almost 8 unexpected demises of my relatives & favorite people.
By noon my Whatsapp shown a message from my schoolie. It was unusual, we rarely make private chats. (I m too weak in that) His text said “Divakar is no more.” Found him dead in the morning under the same banyan tree where he found shelter for his whole life.

Who is he
an-etneral-journeyThe Walker aka Divakar aka Divakara Menon is a double masters degree owner, born on a Christmas eve, lived in our little Village called Puthenchira in Thrissur, Kerala. Completed his BA Politics & B.Com from Palakkad Victoria College. Gained Masters in Political Science & English from Bombay Elphinstone College. MBA from Bajaj Institute of Management, first batch. Did internship from Bombay Cucoosia & Company and owned a CA. After getting selected for IAS he dropped the training at Hyderabad staff training college & did his LLB in Bombay Law College. He believed his life is not for sitting in the chair as the head of a District. He hated the bureaucratic world and the weapon called ‘Power’. His worries were on failure of creating a heaven here & the birth of hell in the world. Bearing all those worries in his head and a lot many successful certificates in his bag he started walking. Walking alone through the whole world. In a half demolished house covered by creepers and a huge banyan tree he found happiness in living with nature. Someone who met in the Indo-Nepal border gave him a name- The Walker; A name that suits him well. After walking about 20 years in his age of 88 he bid adieu to the whole world on which he worried about.
I heard someone saying Divakar never intruded in to the forest. The forest itself came in search of him.
May his soul Rest in peace.

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