I was sitting on the window sill of my apartment, juggling between a hot cup of green tea, a chocolate sandwich and my notebook. While the cold yellow sunshine kissed my green over-sized pullover till it shone, I kept the glass windows shut, helps against the noise. From my window, I looked down at a typical Sunday morning.
I looked across the road to the other side. I don’t do this often, the reason being that the other side reeked of verity, and that isn’t something I’m comfortable with. A boy, approximately fifteen years of age was carrying a brick in his hand. He was followed by another man, in his thirties, also carrying a brick in his hand. They crossed the key maker’s shack and tossed the bricks into a makeshift landfill behind the line of tin-built shops. A part of their daily chore, probably.
The boy was dark skinned and had matted hair that had long outgrown its original length in all directions like wild grass. He wore a Superman T-shirt, over-sized and worn out, probably a hand-me-down. His flip flops were two sizes too small for his feet and I could feel his heels touch the burning ash grey stones lying around the landfill and I found solace in the thought that it was probably hurting my mind more than it hurt his heels that were used to scorching stones.
As he walked away from the landfill, the man in his thirties made a funny comment, I suppose. The boy laughed a hearty laugh and clapped his hands a couple of times. He then sprang his way to the butcher shop. Sundays are usually busy.
I was looking at a fifteen year old boy with matted hair growing like wild grass in a Superman T-shirt, a kid who chops off lamb heads for a living. I was sitting within the safety of a glass window in my green over-sized pullover, contemplating on the meaning of life and which restaurant to go to at night.
I loathed the lack of ambition in the fifteen year old first. I was so much more ambitious at his age. I loathed my elitism second.
Since I will never be in that kid’s shoes (rather, worn out undersized flip flops), I will probably never understand how one must dream of flying an airplane while chopping off lamb heads. My mind probably doesn’t deserve to feel the pain of his burning heels, it’s far too real for my musings. I should probably not question why my maid’s daughter wants to become a nurse and not a doctor. She probably thinks only her mother’s employer’s children deserve elitist jobs such as these. I will never be able to comprehend why they never dream beyond the horizon. Or maybe I am the one deranged; I am the one incapable of coming in terms with the fact that the horizon is a mere illusion, a lie I tell myself so I can humanize the purple blue sky at twilight.
Today, sitting on the window sill, looking across the road, I realised that reality had knocked down the fifteen year old like it hadn’t knocked me, like it would never have to knock me – not because I am privileged, but because I simply am not significant enough. For, the world was never the cup of green tea I could snuggle between my cold winter palms. The world was mostly the men and children working in dark hot ceramic factories, losing their sight to make my $12 tea mug; the world was mostly the dying babies of the mothers who spent twelve hours in tea gardens in Darjeeling, plucking only the finest tea leaves they couldn’t, cannot, afford; the world is mostly the men who inhaled their death twenty years too soon to make pretty paints to paint my mug Oxford blue.
No, I will never understand how and why the fifteen year old chops off lamb heads for a living but maybe that’s because I am not sane enough to discern that horizons are a mere illusion and the yellow sunshine doesn’t really kiss my pullover. Maybe fairy tales and Santa Claus were made for us, for reality is too hard to gather for the privileged daughter of a wealthy father.
The one not important enough