Evening at Zambezi River, Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, May 2015
and so does everything around... the situation, the people, the perspective, the needs.... and we too change.... the wise and courageous seek change.. because only change is constant!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

76. What if…

“What if…” he said to himself and stopped suddenly realizing that the woman sitting next to him was looking at him sharply.

“Excuse me, did you say anything?” She was rather an assertive woman. He knew how to show a surprised look on his face on such occasions, it always confused the questioner. His reaction invariably created suspicion in the mind of that person. To make someone doubt him/herself is not an easy task in this overconfident world. But he had practiced it enough to gain mastery.

‘Young woman are not shy now a days’, he thought to himself. He anxiously looked at the woman to find out whether he had again talked loudly. But thankfully, the woman was engrossed into her cell phone.

In the mean time, he had lost the thread of his thought. He was struggling to regain that flow. What was he thinking about? What was he trying to do just when the woman interrupted him?

‘Ok, let me begin from the beginning’, he tried to calm down by repeating this usual line. But beginning of what? He was loosing patience. For a moment, he was angry with that woman, now fully smiling in the cell phone. He wanted to shout at her for breaking his thought process. She smiled back at him and he became nervous. His heart was now pounding. He closed his eyes and tried to take few deep breaths. Who was she? Why was she smiling to him? What was this trap?

The bus was moving like a snake through the crowded path. People were coming in and getting down. They were talking, they were laughing, some were sleeping, some were smiling, and some were lost in thought. The woman sitting next to him got down at one stop. Funnily, while leaving she said, “Take care, and don’t wander. You will reach within ten minutes and give me a call when you reach.”

He was surprised and shocked to listen to that woman. Why was she saying this to him? Who was she? What was she thinking of him? Where was he supposed to reach? How did she know where he was reaching? Why did she want to know it? Why did she think that he had her number? He got frightened.

The bus stopped. Everyone got down. The driver and conductor of the bus looked at each other knowingly. The conductor spoke to him, “Last stop. Uncle go straight to your house, do not wander.” Did the conductor know him? How? He could not understand the conductor’s statement. The landmarks looked familiar but the road was not known to him. He did not know anything around. He felt very lonely. He felt like a lost child. Whom to call? If someone responds to his call, what would he say?

He moved away. The cool breeze from the sea shore made him feel sleepy. He still was not able to recall anything. The blankness of the mind was frightening. Who was he? Why was he here? What did he want to do? Where was he going? Why was he not able to remember anything?

He went on walking, in search of something which he knew, which he could recall easily. He went on and on, tired, hungry, thirsty, frightened, desperately trying to relate to the world around. Something in his pocket was ringing constantly. He was more frightened. Was it a black magic? At the first garbage bin, he threw away that ringing machine. Minutes passed. Hours passed.

He was attracted by the smell of Vada-Pav. His mind calmed down. He was smiling like a child. He felt free. He rushed to the stall. He was happy to find something with which he could associate.


The young man at the Vada-Pav stall was making a routine call while the old man was enjoying his Vada-Pav. “Madam, don’t worry. Your father is here again. I will take him to your home. Why do you leave him alone even in the bus? Good that he comes here when he is lost. Cell phone? I am sure he must have thrown it away like last time,” Within minutes the old man would be safely entrusted to his family.

The young man thought to himself, half smiling, half frustrated, ‘What if someone like me would have met my mother and brought her home when she was suffering from memory loss!”

He sighed. Every time this old man turned to him, his hope of his mother’s return ignited in him. “What if…” he thought and tears rolled down.


  1. Beautiful, aativas!
    I thought something was written on his back. Didn't realize it would end like this. Nicely narrated.
    All the best for BATOM! :)

  2. That touched a chord somewhere. This happened to a late aunt-in-law of mine, right in the middle of Pune city....

    Wonderful post .

  3. hey, it was a very heart-warming tale; wonderfully written and a good narration :-)

    all the best for BATOM

  4. Well written ! Kept me anchored all the way through !

  5. Nicely narrated Savitatai.... hope this will help spreading the message ....

  6. I am moved. My father suffered dementia later in his life. To some extent he suffereed from memory loss. It was not so worst as you wrote, but gradually could have been if.......

  7. Thanks Karthik. Yes, the story itself got developed, though I wanted to write something else initially.

    JustAnotherLife, welcome and thanks.

    Ugich Konitari and pk, yes I can understand what the experience must have been.

    Thanks magiceye, debosmita,kavi, rajesh .

  8. A very moving and heart-warming story!! And very beautifully written!
    Cheers :)

  9. very touching and worth reading. keep writing mate!

  10. I felt that it would end on this lines - reminded me of "Maine Gandhi Ko Nahin Maara" in some way... Good one...

  11. that....err...

    the end was lovely...nice

  12. I can so relate to this. When you go that extra mile hoping, wishing some way Karma works!

    Good write :)

  13. Awweesomee read....loved reading it...

    Good luck for BATOM!!

  14. Many comments already claim that the post was touchy and I don't beg to differ! :) The young man realized it at the least..there are people who have no mercy whatsoever..the kind who have no conscience! Glad the young man doesn't belong to the 'indifferent' category! Good luck with BATOM!

  15. I agree with all the comments, very beautiful n touching, it was an excellent read

  16. Lovely!! very touching too!!

  17. The end of the story is far too filmi and seriously reduces its merit. But that apart, the post is brilliant. You are a gifted writer, no question about it.

    The increase in average life, made possible by advances in medical science, has created this serious new issue of old people who lose their memory. Also, you have misspelt the word 'lose' in : 'He was loosing patience.' This has become one of the most abused words on the internet, like 'maneeshhaa' and 'aasheerwaad' being routine miswritten as 'manishhaa' and 'aashirwaad' in Devanagari.

    I remember you had made one more post in Blog-A-Ton last month, but I am unable to find it now. I don't know the standard of writing in this Blogathon, but this time your post is indeed beautifully written.

  18. nice story... relates to most of us, you know!
    even I have wondered many times about my grandfather who walks around the city all on his own. Fortunately he has no problem with memory, and he is one good old strong man! But the cities ruthless traffic rarely shows such mercy to old people.... That worries me more.

  19. awwwwwwwwww... good job vada pav boy!

  20. Everybody said everything! It was really touching!!

  21. Thanks Shilpa, Sureindran, Siddhesh, Geeta, Harsha, Pushpee, Mahesh, Saro, Shruti and Murali for your appreciation.

    IIM ka sarakari babu, now that you mention 'Maine Gaandhee ko nahee maara', I too find the similarity - up to certain extent.

    psychedchick, trying that extra mile is always important, though it may not always bring in the desired result.

    Raksha, many time people are not indifferent, they even do not know how to help and do not know whether help is needed. That too is one of the problems.

    Naniwadekar, I appreciate your candid opinion about the post. And yes, next time probably I would spell 'loosing' correctly!

    Anunja, city is ruthless to many including old. That is how we designed cities.

  22. heyy I am feeling good see a different approach....with nice narration..

  23. A very beautiful post... The way you put across the helplessness of the elderly man was very real... Glad i did not miss out on reading this..

  24. Very well written..heart touching.It feels so sad bcoz though we know the problem we cannot solve it...And it must be a terrible effect on the family...
    Very good..

  25. A touching post !! Very sentimental !!!

  26. Thanks Makk, Tanmaya, dilontherocks and Whats in a name for your encouraging words.

  27. Wonderful story.. a very unoque take on the words 'What If'.. What If age not only made us wiser but also stronger.. I wonder. Anyways.. this was an amazing post, well narrated and touching. Good luck :)

  28. Beautiful post , narrated so well. Very touching aativas...

  29. Changing times!:~)
    Like your blog and loved this story!
    Well written!

  30. well!! I think i m late.. bt its better late than never.. as all the appreciative words has been used by others... i would say... WOW!!!!!!!!! would like to come to your blog again n again... all the best!! keep smiling like ---> :)ortio

  31. Wonderful story...unexpected ending What if..

    My Last Post- What If You Were My Valentine

  32. Touching story. I loved the way she took things as it came by directing her father to come home directly and not to wander. Very difficult.

  33. Thanks TheWestWind, Madhu, Yemiledu, Nikhil, Aman and Puja for your kind words.


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