EPILOGUE: LESSONS FROM A WEALTHY BEGGAR

It had been almost an hour besides the beggar (that didn’t seem like a beggar for me,kind of wise sage perhaps….) who mouths philosophical deep thoughts related to life; enlightening others with his experience.

The wise man had been silent for the last 10 minutes or so.
Neither did I speak anything.
His eyes were moist,trying hard not to break down; at the same time a strong smile pasted on his face, trying hard to be optimistic of sorts.But I was sure..he felt relieved. After all, who doesn’t feel relieved after talking out or writing down their pentup emotions?

He noticed me staring at his direction and thats when he broke the unruly silence.

“ I guess its time to go back to your scheduled hectic life perhaps ”,he smiled.

“Yes..you’re right,loads of pending work to do.. Less time.More work.”

“You remind me of my teenage days- the studious days of mine when I was always spotted with a book in my hand..writing down notes,highlighting the important lines,bookmarking my favourite pages et al.People
often called me a nerd who craves for new books- be it novel or any other book..
Those golden days….

I smile at his nostalgic view..a smile that was cut short by thoughts like “How I’ll manage to listen to Mom’s lecture next”.

“Thanks a lot for these invaluable experiences that you shared with me.”

“Nah! Don’t thank me.I’m not worth thanking now. Thank me when you’ll be happy after implementing these lessons in your life,my friend.”

“Ya! Sure..”

It was time to bid adieu. I was happy, at the same.time sad.
Happy for the priceless experiences and the time that I spent with him.Sad for the condition that he is in.

I looked at him with pitiful eyes.
He too looked at me,paused for a second and gave a smile.

“Wake up!”,he said with a totally different voice.

“What?”
I didn’t understand his words nor his sudden change of voice.
Were they another set of cryptic philosophical words?
No…then what did he mean?
I was lost in thoughts,when someone gently slapped my cheek.
Suddenly, the image of the wise beggar and the surroundings blurred out,and in a fraction of second everything turned black.
Empty.
Void.

I realised this had been another weird and stupid dream of mine.

“I can’t believe you slept here! On this bench!” a visibly hyper Mom shouted at me.

The heavy load of books and 3- hour-a-day travelling had taken its toll on me.

“Yes..me too..I..I’m a bit tired perhaps..”,I fumbled for words, my mind still wandering to find out where’s Mr.Beggar,as if he was real.

“Are you lost or what!? ”,my Mom shouted in my ears after I acted like a deaf boy to the questions she asked me,when my mind wandered somewhere else.

“No..No!..I’m fine..ya!I’m fine..”, I reply after shutting down the shutters on my imaginary world.

“See! How much time you’ve wasted here! You already know how much work you have, above that exams are around the corner and…….”
She continued speaking her heart out,being the quintessential Indian Mom.

Since I was used to these lectures, the feeling of guilt had fell down quite to an extent.
Mom should seriously add some new points to her lecture perhaps, so that it gets a bit more interesting and mainly so that I could hear some new faults of mine from her.
I sigh.

After seeing that I’m not paying heed to her lecture (as usual),she speaks out the famous lines that every Indian mom uses to conclude their lectures..

“Tu kabhi nahi sudhrega!”
(“You’ll never improve!”)

I smile at her customary dialogue.
“Let Dad come.. will see you then! ”,she kind of threatened me and left..but that too didn’t bear any effect on me.

I was still glued to my thoughts, relishing those moments and trying hard to remember the exact wordings of Mr.Imaginary Beggar.

“What a dream that was!”, I smile sheepishly.

After some time, I decided it was time to leave.
I looked to my left to find  a beggar seated few feets away.
He resembled the beggar who appeared in my dreams to a certain extent,the only difference being that this guy had a long white beard and a wrinkled face.
This time,I pinch myself to check whether I’m in the real world or not. The test returned positive and I walked towards him.

He looked at me with a glint in his eyes,hoping I would give him some alms,and help him out.
I check my pockets the same way I did in my dream,only to find it empty again.

His hopes crushed and I too felt helpless.

“Sorry..” , I mutter and walk towards my home,not sure if I’m ready for cracking some tough math problems, coding some programs and listening to Mom’s lecture – all over again.

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