God made the Corns

Roasted corn days were getting over. All those hundreds of road-side vendors were nowhere to be seen. I was too fortunate to find one, that fine noon.

The corn vendor was a known face. I used to buy from him everytime while returning from lunch. I thought I should have clicked his photo as well; but didn’t do because his clothes were dirty and torn and that may make the world look at India as a poor country. So be satisfied with just the roasted corn.

Not that soft

Not that soft

Before I asked anything, he started the conversation that softer corns are no longer available. (I used to ask for softer ones, he remembers!). In fact, corn season was gone and he was fortunate enough to get a few. And he selected two soft ones for me and put them on fire.

I was exploring the possibility of finding any more chewable types from the heap of corn on his trolley. One of them did not have any grains at all. And he said, “see, I had to purchase that too.”

Another seemed to have nice soft grains on one side but, the other side was grain-less. I was expecting some comment from the seller watching me examine that corn. This time he was philosophical, “Khudaa ki shaan hai. Kiske takdeer mein kya likha hai…” (Approx. meaning: Each one got it’s own fate; all God’s grace).
My brains took some time to process those lines.

Another elderly person came and asked (I guess) for one roasted corn. The seller gave him one; a small one.
The person took the corn very close to left side of his face and seemed examining something. (What is he listening from inside a corn? Seems there was something I had missed so far.)

The person didn’t like that corn. He started hitting it hard on the heap of 10 or so already-roasted corns and asked for another; while the seller cried in panic, “Hey don’t don’t. All will fall down.” Well, it was dangerous. The roasted corns were stacked in a way resembling the wood logs on truck in Final Destination II.

Now the man placed the corn gently on the board and picked another; a big one. Seller said (I guess), “OK, take that.” And the man turned to me requesting for something.

He held my hand and was about to ask something I already guessed. “Would you please pay for this one?” You can’t guess wrong in such a place swarming with beggars. (See my book in press.)

But he didn’t ask anything. Just drew my attention towards the busy road.

“Wanna cross the road?”, I asked amazed, moments before realizing he was blind!

In this city (as they call), educated people perhaps think every alternate lane in the multi-lane streets are for traffic in alternate directions. So a six-lane, 2-way road should carry traffic in 6 directions. And the uneducated ones just don’t bother. Thus further multiplying the number of traffic directions.

I made him cross the vehicles and move till the pedestrians path in middle of the highway. “Oh you still want to cross to the other side?” I asked.

He nodded and now he was holding my palm. (Hmm… have to use alcohol-based cleanser first thing I reach home with the corns. Swine flu does not spread through roasted corn. Germs get roasted anyway.”)

I crossed the road back to the corn seller. He had packed the two already. But had forgotten to apply the lemon and salt.


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