Jammed Judgements

PC; Unsplash

He entered into the restaurant as usual at around 12:30 pm and went straight to the last table that was reserved for him, without the reserved board kept on the table. He had his favorite newspaper- Indian Express with him. With a serious look on his face, he went and sat on the table that had just one chair. The waiter came quickly and kept a hot cup of tea even though there was no order placed.

“Sir, chapati and mix veg, today?”, The waiter asked

“Nah, I want alu gobi today, and please add dal also.”, said the old man, who was probably in his early seventies. With glasses on his nose and wrinkles that showed the number of years of experience that he had, he had an aura of an intellectual who had tasted life and all its shades.

“Yes Sir.” The waiter said and left.

He immersed himself in the newspaper with the same grave emotions intact. The crowd in the restaurant kept changing from school kids to college students to families according to different phases of time. But what remained constant was the old man sitting in the corner, unfazed by any happenings around him, with his teacup and his face into the newspaper devouring every bit of it.

It was almost lunchtime when the waiter slowly came and delivered the hot and sumptuous meal as ordered in front of his table. The old man smiled at the waiter, kept his newspaper aside, looked outside the window for a while and then towards the crowded restaurant full of people, some impatient about why their orders were delayed, some laid back customers enjoying their time involved in gossips, before eating his lunch.

None of the people bothered about him. He was someone who due to his very simple attire easily merged with the environment as well. With a pale blue shirt with grey pants and his slip-on, he looked relaxed and at ease. His presence there was equivalent to one of the pieces of furniture that just lies without any disturbance. The hotel staff knew very well how to serve their daily customer and hence the waiter was accustomed to serving him as per his taste.

However, there was someone among those pool of unknown faces who kept staring at this old man from time to time. He had come with his family; his wife, and three children all aged roughly between five to twelve years . The family had been there for their lunch. It seemed that they had been traveling somewhere with packed bags and the usual anticipation on the face of travelers to reach their destination was easily palpable. The man, though in a hurry while attending to every demand of his wife and the little ones was somehow curious about this silent figurine that sat calmly on the table having his lunch in perfect silence lost in his world.

The young man and his family finished having their food and after the man made the payment at the hotel counter, he slowly came near the old man, while his family had started leaving the hotel.

With a slight hint of hesitation in his tone, he said, ” Sir, very sorry to disturb you. I don’t know how to put it. I just had a Deja vu moment while I looked at you while having lunch with my family. It felt as if I am seeing my future in you. I have always wanted the calmness that you have now, the silence with which you are enjoying this moment is something that I crave for. I so want to be in your place right now and wish this moment of me-time to be all mine, I don’t know if I ever will have it or not. I don’t know if I am making any sense and if I should be saying this to you at all. But I just could not stop myself. I am extremely sorry to bother you.”

The old man looked at him and he smiled with warmth and said “It’s alright! I understand, this phase of family life gets a little hectic and we crave the peace that we all so desperately want. I am glad you shared your feelings. I think you are traveling somewhere.”

“Yes, yes. we are going to our native. My inlaws are not well and I need to be with them at any cost. This is again a responsibility. Life is all about responsibilities.”

“Are you coming or not? we are getting late.” the wife called out.

The man exchanged pleasantries and left.

It was late in the evening when the old man came back after his long evening walk and opened the doors of his small cottage. He freshened up, put on the Television with a little high volume, and went into the kitchen. He took about an hour or so to prepare his dinner and make other arrangements in the house. After his dinner, he took his medicine pills and it was time to hit the bed. He stood in front of a photo hung on the wall with a garland that adorned it. His better half had long succumbed to cancer . She had left him alone with only the memories of their togetherness, of their struggles, of their bitter fights, of their eventful nights, of their experience of creating a new life, of their journey of ups and downs of life. After few minutes of deep contemplation, he hit the bed. Just then his phone rang. It was his only daughter, who now was happily settled in another part of the world. Even the nights and days were not the same between the father and the daughter. She called up every day at the same time to know if her dad was doing well.

The old man answered the routine call and just before closing his eyes his mind wavered back to the young man who spoke to him today in the restaurant. He smiled to himself and his thoughts came alive in his mind.

‘What an irony! He wanted my calmness which is nothing but loneliness for me that I despise so much! And what he calls chaos and noise is probably the best phase of a family full of life and its unending demands. He wanted to be me , but who do I go and say that I want his chaos around me? That is the sole reason why I go to the restaurant every single day so that I can see life in front of me, immerse myself in the discord of life to feel lively, to feel the presence of my only daughter when I see cute little girls walking into the hotel holding the hand of their fathers just like my little one did, to experience the presence of my better half because that is where we had first met before confessing our love to each other. I was jealous of the time he was spending with his beautiful family. But can I ever say what I feel? No, never, I will be judged if I say so. And time as we all know just moves forward. I and my calmness… Dammit!’

After tossing in his bed a few times, and popping his sleeping pill, he tried hard to escape the melancholy calmness that was now his only friend and escape into his dream that probably mirrored celebrations of life.

Most of the times we tend to become jealous of what others have not realizing whether it is worth it or not.

I’m participating in #BlogchatterA2Z -2021

Love,
Chinmayee

29 Comments Add yours

  1. Such a wonderful read. Loved it. All about perceptions. One person’s pain is another’s happiness. It all depends on how you see it. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for your kind words and appreciation 🥰

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Pr@Gun says:

    Yet another nice story chinmayee. I so look forward to your stories daily and I love the headings also a lot. His calmness vs chaos, his peace vs panic, his jealousy vs judgment. Loved it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much Pragun ❤️ Glad you liked the story and the message.

      Like

  3. So many elements in your story. We are quick to judge and quick to be jealous. How beautifully you juxtaposed all the emotions. Loved reading it
    Deepika Sharma

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Deepika for your interest and comments.

      Like

  4. Harshita says:

    How very true na, we keep comparing to others not realising it might be the best time of our lives. We are so filled with dissatisfaction due to comparison.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, comparison and judgements come easily looking at others . Thank you so much for your words.

      Like

  5. Mayuri6 says:

    You have made us realize that we must be careful what we wish for. Not everything someone else has is worth coveting. Another hard-hitting truth so beautifully conveyed.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your constant support, motivation and encouragement. Truly makes a difference.

      Like

  6. Anita says:

    Wonderfully expressed, Chinmayee.
    The elderly gentleman craves for the younger person’s life & vice-versa.
    “The grass is greener at the other side…”
    We judge the way we see. It may not be reality!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for stopping by and commenting!

      Like

  7. Quite often we don’t know what is going on exactly in another person’s life. Your observations of life’s misjudgments based on appearances has come live thought this story.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for your kind words, Sir .

      Like

  8. Aesha says:

    I am in my 40’s and this is the time you know when you watch your parents getting old, your kid In the growing up years, career which demands your attention because it’s now or never and suddenly you get bogged down with the feeling of having so many responsibilities that you wish for calmness. I could relate to the story so much. Many times I seek that calmness of a retired life. But your story opened my eyes. I should just enjoy this time because then maybe I will crave this chaos.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aww ! You just made my day. I did not know that my little attempt to showcase the reality of life through fiction will have such an impact! I am humbled and grateful to you for your kind words. More power to you to live life filled with fun along with achievement of desired goals.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Neha says:

    Such a hard hitting reality. A phase of life that no one wants once they have it but probably crave for it while being dizzy with responsibilities.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Such is the irony of life. Thank you so much Neha for stopping by and for your kind words.

      Like

  10. rationalraj2000 says:

    A story well told…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for your kind words.

      Like

  11. Sunith says:

    Great read. You narrated it so well

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for your kind words.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Loved your view on this. pain vs happiness? yes. others sadness is our happiness. its how we take it

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, life is a game where the consequences are linked to the choices we make. Thank you for stopping by.

      Like

  13. Swarnali Nath says:

    Being jealous only destroy peace of mind. Nice story dear.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for your kind words 🤗

      Liked by 1 person

  14. purbajune says:

    Wow! Beautiful storytelling. The grass always looks greener on the other side.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Absolutely. Thank you for sharing your thoughts!

      Like

  15. Jarod Renz says:

    I absolutely love your blog and find almost all of your post’s to be just what I’m looking for. Would you offer guest writers to write content to suit your needs? I wouldn’t mind composing a post or elaborating on many of the subjects you write regarding here. Again, awesome blog!

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s