Fiction: An Idler

Abu Siddik

- Abu Siddik

Two middle aged men sat on an iron bench at Falakata station. One was stout and clean shaven, and wore a business suit and his tensed eyes set on his laptop. The second man, gaunt and bearded, wore slippers and faded pants, and his eyes fixed to the distant whitish Kanchenjunga.

The station was empty. Only some beggars and stray dogs lay under the tin shed. It was 10 a.m., and till 11.30 no trains would stop. At times a mail train speedily passed, leaving a trail of smoke and dust behind. The beggars then stirred their limbs, and fell asleep soon.

“Hi! Me, Mr. Khemka, on a business tour to Kolkata,” gloated the businessman while putting his laptop into his backpack.
The other man was shaken at the abrupt address. He was lost in wayward thoughts.

“I …me …Mr. Faltu, an Idler,” haltingly he said and cleared his throat.
“What?”
“An Idler, I mean…a person who spends time in an aimless or lazy way.”
“You do nothing?” I caught. Mr. Khemka sneered. He was a successful businessman and
counted each minute. He had no time to hear an invalid. But he had just finished his task, and
half an hour he had to wait for the train. So he mechanically struck a conversation with the man
beside.

It was autumn. The sky was clear blue. The rays of the sun fell on the crest of the hill and it
looked awful. A flock of white herons flew lazily across the sky, and they gleamed.

“And what you do, gentleman? Suck earth, hoard gold, serve a fat woman at home and die. Is it a
life? Phoo!” Mr. Faltu twisted his face and spat.
“My wife isn’t fat,” resisted Mr. Khemka.
“Fat or no fat, it’s always the same. You’re living a rat’s life, a life in a hole!” He quipped.
“And you? An invalid, worthless, poor man, living a luxurious life? Uh….”

Mr Khemka was red with anger. Beads of sweat covered his temple. He took a handkerchief and
wiped his face. And Mr. Faltu, apparently bitter, wore a mournful look, and sat silent. At times
he caressed his greasy beard.

Meanwhile passengers began to crowd, and hawkers shrilly hawked.

Some minutes passed. They didn’t speak. Mr. Khemka took a cup of coffee and sipped, and
unnecessarily looked at his watch.

“Don’t mind,” began Mr. Faltu. “Me, an irascible Idler. I hate women, money and success. All
are traps. I love hills, fields, seas, skies, the sun, the moon, birds, butterflies, a forest path, a
deserted hut, and the graveyards. And I’m not a clock’s servant. The day and the night, the dawn
and the dusk all are mine. Such a free life I live. And, Mr Khemka, I’m a very rich man. Poor
you are!” He squelched.

A processed voice announced the train, and Mr. Khemka, visibly bitter and sullen, began to
ready himself. And dolefully Mr. Faltu stared at the blue horizon etched by the distant treetops.
And when his eyes wavered back on the glowing hill, tears glided through his sunken cheeks.

4 comments :

  1. Nice write-up. A satire on the present life of a urban modern man!

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  2. thank you for reading . yes it is but more than so .

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  3. the narrative also spot lights the agony of a solitary person from a countryside who has some hidden grievances of his own and that I suppose make him shed tears as the story concludes.

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    Replies
    1. hi,mr.Gahlot, pleased that you read it. And your comment is super. But at the same I share candidly that my words fail me.I try to tell more than what my words permit . It's more than what you ,and your likes sangeeta , me mean . Thank you .

      Delete

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