WSPI-2012-03: You only see what your eyes want to see – Social Short Story
This short story is participating in Write Story from Picture India 2012 – Short Story Writing Competition.
Like any other day I was both mentally and physically exhausted as I reached the busy traffic area on my way back home in the evening. The slight breeze through the window swept through my sweaty wet hair cooling off the daily tautness. I was happy to catch the window seat in my office bus. The heavy traffic ahead of me promised fifteen to thirty minute delay.
I could have slept for some more time in the bus but the constant honks from all sides were disturbing. I do not understand why few people honk in traffic in urban areas. They seem to be so impatient. I guess this is what city life does to a human being. Somewhere deep within, I too was feeling frustrated and impatient looking at the ocean of traffic around me.
In this mayhem of thoughts, my eyes caught sight of three young boys selling earthen pots and masks. The bright and colorful masks resembling demons with tongue out are usually hung on top corner of the house. I had asked my granny why we do so when she had asked my father to get one for our house. She told me it keeps the evil spirits away. I was not convinced. The mask looks so evil and scary. The thought of spoiling the look of our newly built house by hanging the mask bothered me. My father understood my worry and explained the reason behind hanging the masks.
People have a tendency to see whatever is bright and colorful. We all love to see the flowers and love to see the rainbow mainly because they are colorful. Colour boosts brain performance and receptivity. So all major advertisements and banners are either in red or blue, and so are these masks. When we hang this on top of our home, people tend to look at the mask rather than the house and so it is believed to save the house from evil sights. I agreed to his explanation to some extent but I felt we always only see what our eyes want to see.
The three boys who were selling this mask were around 5 to 7 years of age. They were shabby and wore torn clothes. I guess their parents asked them to take care of the store for a while in the evening. There was hardly any customer since the time our bus stood there in the traffic. I could hear them talk about the number of matchbox covers they had. Probably they use them for some kind of a game.
All of a sudden, there came a pulsar bike with three high school boys. They were around 12-15 years of age. They parked the bike right in front of the colorful masks and got down. They were equally shabby with mud all over the body. The three young boys at the store gazed at the folks from the bike without a wink. The three boys from the bike moved a bit further and to my dismay, they lit the cigarette and started smoking. The three boys from the store continued to watch the boys smoke and I could see the admiration in their eyes. The boys from the bike finished smoking and drove the pulsar in a small muddy side road.
“When will we be like them?” one of the boys asked others. “Forget the bike, I doubt we even ever get to smoke” said the other. “If we could sell at least one mask today, we can try smoking with the money” he continued with glowing eyes.
I felt pity for their state of mind. There were so many cars in front of them and there was our bus full of techies’ right in front of their store. There were people in their Benz, there were people with iPhone and Blackberry and there were people in suits. None of them caught the kids’ attention, but the ragamuffins could catch their attention within no time. The young boys only saw what their eyes wanted to see.