–Running; that’s how the man was seen,

by the little girl in the bus, the man smoking his cigarette by the tea stall, the woman watering the flowers in her garden & the dog awakening from its slumber on the sidewalk.

The little girl believes that given the leather bag, the handle of which is in his hand and perched on his shoulder, he is carrying a gift for his daughter, a surprise present, hopefully that new segment of doll, bought from that famous toy shop near the big bazaar. The leather bag carries the doll; the doll craved by all. And now he is (running) late for the birthday party at their home, and hoping to reach his destination before the candles are blown and the cake is cut, so as not to miss out on it like last year. Her eyes stay on him till he disappears from the view as the bus turns at the corner.

The man, smoking his cigarette by the tea stall, believes that the man he just saw is running late for his office. & given the clothes that he is wearing, from the (apparent) expensive looking leather shoes, to the formals and that big buckled belt, he is a person from a big office, like that high storied, nose-bleed inducing sky scraper near the bridge. The man must have been called in for a late meeting post work and now has to make a dash for it in the evening. The man at the tea stall, currently unemployed, with the last note of the day in his pocket, that will be used to pay for the cigarette and the tea that will follow, sighs, and takes an uncharacteristically long drag, hoping to exhale the yearning of a job and the riches along with the smoke to the air.

The woman watering the flowers in her garden, stares at the young man, running unchained on the road, and believes, given the haste in his steps, along with the stubble on his face, for him to be in his late 20s, currently running for a rendezvous with the woman of his life; a woman with big eyes, long hair, almost the same height as herself, and a laugh for which he is willing to run through such a crowded main road, with no care for the traffic or the world. She smiles and watches him disappear, a rare man with colour in this black and white city; the city that has been colourless for the elderly woman, for the past 7 years, since she lost her man and his touch; a touch she remembers but sometimes forgets.

The dog wakes up to notice the man and is sure that the man is running for food, and impulsively the dog cranks its neck up and extends its nose to take a sniff, hoping to get a whiff of food that this man is definitely running towards; for what else can be so urgent other than the pang in the gullet? But, with no scent of food, the dog questions for a second as to what could be the reason for this man to run with such haste. Maybe a predator? Maybe those net carrying trucks that have taken its friends away too? Maybe a (quick) mate? Hmmm… but, alas, it ain’t food and the dog goes back to keep its head on its front paws, hoping to crawl itself into a ball again; to fight off the scathing cold and the thoughts of food. Food, dearth of which has been a constant in its life. Food, the only thing that should make a person run like that.

–But the man keeps running; blind to the stares and the thoughts; running, for that’s all he knows; running, for that’s all he wants; running, for he remembers a time when he had a broken leg and he couldn’t; running, cause that’s the primal trait of his species; running, for it stands for freedom; but running, for even if he gives all those reasons, even he does not know why he runs. He remembers that once he had run to attend a birthday party. He had run to attend a late meeting. He had run for a coffee date for a girl with big eyes & long hair. He had once run for food too.

But today, he runs, not towards someplace, something or someone.

Today, he runs from himself.

For that’s his reason & existence. Just like everyone else’s.


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