The Unfortunate Man (Part II) (a fictional story about perception)
(..continued from part 1)
He continued fidgeting with the instrument. Feeling its smooth neck sending sparkles in the sun. He adjusted its angle and pressed an eye against the cold metal. It was hazy . He looked away into the street below. Yes, the street WAS hazy. Grey, grimy, dusty and dull. The trees..There weren’t any. Only the ones on the periphery of his mansion. Houses were built so close to each other that they appeared to crush each other as they jostled for space in this megapolis. In every 500 square foot of space a linear building complex had sprung. It was a super expensive piece of real estate. “All due to my house” he smirked in his mind.
He then moved the lens, forward back, left right; till it clicked into a position of some clarity. He adjusted it again and the picture got clearer. He saw a movement in the lens. He looked away and tried to look at the movement with bare eyes, but it was barely discernable through the haze of pollution separating his verandah from the street below. It happened again. A gentle movement. He looked again through the lens and this time he saw clearly. He had somehow focused on the terrace of one of these buildings . Amid the outdoor water tanks was a single figure who seemed to be in meditation. A smile on his lips. Eyes closed. He seemed to have an aura of peace and calm around him.
A mendicant? Doing surya namaskar in the early morning rays? He zoomed out and was shocked. This man appeared to be doing his morning rituals balancing dangerously on the ledge of the building. Was he about to do something else?…a horrifying thought passed his mind and a bead of sweat fell from his forehead with clammy hands, he zoomed in again and this time on the face of this person as if to gauge his thought. Suddenly, the man opened his grey green eyes and looked straight ahead. The rich man moved away from the lens as if he felt caught. Red faced and ashamed at his spying, he turned around and headed back for his room.
His guilt stayed with his for a few days. He checked everyday in the papers if there was any incident of a man falling off his rooftop or stories of suicide, but the paper had squeezed the crime stories to make way for advertisements on that page. He had probably been only praying, he sighed with relief.
One day to work, he decided to take the limousine instead of his usual helicopter to his main office. He avoided the traffic outside his house as much as possible. Cars, bikes, cycles, buses all rammed into one another bumper to bumper. A single scratch on his stretch limo cost him a fortune to get repaired. The beggar’s kids also loved to make marks on his gleaming car. Not that they could see anything on the inside, but loved admiring their own reflection on the mirror like body. The worst were the potholes that seemed to grow bigger with every rain.
His work assistant sat next to him. A young guy out of the best business school in the country But this assistant was ok. He took care of all the email work on the go, was educated fairly well and his biggest perk in life was perhaps this limo drive with me right now. Plus he is helpful in shooing away the beggar boys, shielding me from their stares. ” What a pity, my own son never wanted to study further!” He thought. The car stopped at yet another traffic signal. This time it seemed an unusually long one. His assistant got out to inspect the cause.