November was ending, and whoever has stayed in north India would tell you that it is one of the best times of year, weather-wise. It's cold, but not too cold, just enough to make you much lazier than you already are. Afternoons are sunny with the tinge of cold in the breeze. In a nutshell, a time of year when it would be a bliss to be home, lying on the terrace, basking in the sun, having something to munch on with a hot cup of 'chai'(which you didn't have to move your arse to make) and something good to read. Ehh, the reading material won’t matter, you would doze off anyway. And I won't blame you. It's the weather.
It was one such Sunday morning; I was roaming on my terrace with all my laziness wrapped around me when I heard a ‘Raddiwalah’ calling from the street below. It reminded me of a book I had recently read about clearing the clutter (That book is a whole other story; I plan to write about it someday).
On my right was a room full of waste stationary, and though I never felt it before, after reading the book I felt it emitting negative energy. It’s mind over matter indeed.
I rushed to the balcony, shouted to him to come again after two hours. Figured that in so much time I would be able to sort through all the raddi and bring it downstairs. It took me four flights of stairs, to and fro, and an almost broken back to get it all downstairs. I was still panting, standing in front of the heap and patting my own back in my mind when I heard the raddiwallah again. It was a Sunday, so they kept coming. I sold everything off for 5Rs/kg. He would resell it at 6 and would make around Rs 100 by the end of the day, which by new Indian standards would make him not poor. I felt bad.
I was almost done selling when an old man, shrivelled to half the size of what he would have been in his younger days, came and stood at the threshold of the gate. Said, “Bitiya, do ghante baad aane ko bola tha”. Seeing the previous fellow still arranging the stacks in his cart, his lifeless eyes moved to me. Not knowing what to do next, I went inside, came back with whatever scrap I could find inside and gave it to him. He did not complain. I felt worse.