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Lookup into life

I love to eat street food and this love for street food developed when I was a little kid. My cousin brother used to take me to the bus stand where all the street food vendors parked  to attract maximum business and we would have "pani puri" or a "nagina chat" . Every evening in the midst of the hustle and bustle of the town sat these hawkers with their delicacies that they had prepared whole day and displayed them in their respective stands. This story is about a particular "chana wala" who sat amongst these hawkers. He had the smallest stand among all the other hawkers. He was old and his hair had turned grey. He had a stiff moustache rolled around the edges like that of a maharaja. He wore a white dhoti, a round necked white vest and an old pair of black chappals. He always tied a checkered towel around his waist. He sat on a small folding chair that he carried with him along with the stand. Whenever there was no electricity you could always see a candle gleaming from his stand in the middle of the bus stand, at other times he would sit by the bulb hanging over the veranda of a nearby shop.When ever I used to go out, either alone, or with friends or even with parents, I would always stop by his stand and order a chana for a rupee or two.He would then start mixing all the ingredients : the boiled chanas, the finely cut pepper and then as he would call it his "magic masala" , some drops of lime juice and then at last finely cut onions. He would  mix them all well in his little container with his spatula and serve it on a paper with a paper spoon. I could not resist the smell of freshly cut lime and onions and the smell of his masala powder.
He used to love talking to me. He called me "Gudiya" and when ever I would go alone he would always give me a bit more chana than usual with a better helping of the onions. I used to love listening to him talking about his "desh". He said that he had to leave his native home because business was dry there and had come here with his wife and two sons. He said that although he could not make a great deal out of his life he wanted his sons to be well educated and take up the respectable teaching profession. He always used to tell me " Gudiya bahut Padhegi" (daughter will be well educated). I was very moved to see such a simple man with such high standards of optimism and inspiration.
After I was done with my school I had to move away to pursue higher studies. I went on to get a degree from college and then university. For many years I did not see him. Recently when I was back in town I visited my childhood home. As I was standing there simply staring and remembering the beautiful memories I had there I heard a voice, "Gudiya!" . I turned around to find the chana-wala standing there. He looked older now, his face was wrinkled , his hair was fully grey like the colour of the snow, and in his hands was an old shopping bag. He dressed the same, same old dhoti, same white vest and the same towel around his waist. He was so happy to see me. I was so stunned that he recognised after all these years. He asked me where was I living and about my studies. I asked him about his life and he said that his sons did really well in life and both of them landed a job in good government schools. He was able to get them married and they helped him build a house for the whole  family.

People like him having so much hope and optimism in life is what keeps the world going. He might have access to the finest things in the world but his thought was great enough to make himself and others happy in life.

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  • Pene Xis
'The beauty of a woman is not in the clothes she wears, the figure that she carries, or the way she combs her hair. The beauty of a woman is seen in her eyes, because that is the doorway to her heart, the place where love resides. True beauty in a woman is reflected in her soul. It’s the caring that she lovingly gives, the passion that she shows and the beauty of a woman only grows with passing years.' - Audrey Hepburn