On the streets of the old bazaar, there sat a man in rags. Every time I passed by , he smiled and looked away. Neither was he handsome nor was he wealthy. Still I thought about him. Why would anyone wait on streets for years together ? I had seen him there since I was a kid.
An autumn morning , I heard he passed away. On the street. No one heard his dying words. No one offered him gangajal or tulsi. He died unmourned , un-noticed. The bazaar still smelt of spices and perfume.
Years later, I heard his story. From an antique woman. In his prime, the man was a successful merchant. He had a comfortable home and a lovely wife. One morning, his wife was on her way to the temple on the hillock. A raging earthquake hit the city and razed the hillock to ground. The lovely wife was lost, never to be found. May be she had died , buried under the rubble.
The merchant never lost hope. Gradually he began to live on the street, hoping that his lovely wife would return. Gradually, he lost his wealth. With age, he lost his health. He lost his mind. The society abandoned him. They called him mad.
But his love for his wife never abandoned him.
This forsaken madman was the epitome of ever-lasting undying love.Whenever I pass by the street where he sat, I smile at it. And then walk away.