Friday, 30 October 2009

papad john paul II

an old old man used to deliver papads to our house when i was a kid. he's one of those characters from childhood that you remember. he had a face like pope john paul II, and was a stooped, weather-beaten old fella who seemed like he could barely walk. yet he would walk kilometres barefoot selling papad. he spoke very little, and what little he did speak was unintelligible, and i used to wonder why. maybe he was from a different place? we would buy hundreds of homemade papads from him at a time, to stock up till his next visit. i'd always suspected that mom shared my thoughts in wondering if we'll see him again. yet we did, from the time we built our house to the time i started driving a scooter. he would always politely decline a lift and flash his radiant smile with missing teeth (i used to think of the gaps in his teeth as sunspots on the sun) if i met him on the way, choosing to walk carrying his heavy bag full of different types of papad. and looking at him walk barefoot, i always used to wonder whether there were more cracks on his feet than there are wrinkles on his face. and watching his stooped thin frame walk away in a manner that seemed to defy odds, id always be left with mixed thoughts in mind.

the funny thing is, i remembered him yesterday after ages. i was on a chai break where a couple of colleagues were discussing socio-technical aspects of a user interface for monitoring a refinery supply chain, and pop comes the papad man to my mind. how in the name of all good things on god's green earth did that thought get triggered by listening to that conversation, i would dearly love to know.

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