Now it is life. The death follows. All who are born are dead one day. The flesh vanishes and the bones perish. The ash remains as dust. The dust is all around. The old man is on the river bank in the dust of the evening. The night is galloping to have the gulp of the drowning red sun. Where is not the pain? The old man and the dust are friends. There is dust everywhere on old man’s old body and old clothes. The rim of his spectacles is dusty. The glasses are weak to recognize things as they are.
The Young man from the nearby city came there to have the rich nature captured in his stills.
The dull light is not helping him to capture the richness in his photography. He came to the old man and asked him, “Hi dad, what are you doing here?”
The old man looked at his bright and happy face. He is smiling. His smile is tender and it is greeting the old man. The old man is hungry. The old man is weak. The old man is unable to talk or unable to walk. He is tired in life. He is retired from the life.
“Dad, you are looking weak. Shall I help you to make you reach your home?” He showed compassion.
His concern for the misfortunes of the old man is real. The reality made the old man look in to his face. He looked like a friend. A friend is one who shows sympathy and concern when sufferings greet us in disguise. Disguise is suffering which does not allow us to show reality. Reality and disguise are two sides of a river of life. They see each other, but never meet.
“I am taking care of my cattle. There is none at home.” The old man said.
There is deep pain in the eyes of the old man. He is looking in the sky where darkness is spreading. The young man looked around and confirmed that there are no cattle around. The old man did not look like a neither a shepherd nor a herdsman. He is in his old dusty clothes and his pale dusty face is like a poor man fighting with death.
“What cattle dad? I see none around.”
“I am taking care of two cows.”
“I don’t see any cow here.”
“I too don’t see my boy. The two cows are my two daughters.”
“What happened dad? How you lost your daughters?”
“One has eloped with the village blacksmith. The other has betrayed me, fighting with hunger. Both the cows are now out of my sight. “
His words failed to explain the volume of pain. His eyes are dead deep with full of pain. The pain is in pain at the failure of taking him in a gulp.
“How you are taking care of them when you cannot see them?” The young man asked with wonder.
“I am a father. I cannot forget my duty as a father. I am taking care of my two daughters as the cattle. They are free to eat anything here. My duty is simple. I see everything and I have to keep quiet like I did not see anything.” The old man is telling like a film made to say the mind of the filmmaker.
The young man has pity. He had a reminder of his job he has to finish. His mind is working hard inside.
“Dad, what is there at home to eat? I am hungry!”
“Nothing, someone brings something to eat. I come here before sunrise to look after my cattle. If I fail to do this as a father, people may say that I am Stupid. You know I am intelligent and I have common sense of taking care of my cattle.”
The young man made his camera ready. He took the shots of the old man on the river bank in the twilight of drowning sun. The blood is coming from the sun. The sky is red like the blood coming from the dying sun.
“Come dad, I will leave you at your home.”
The young man tried to help him.
The body of the old man did not help him. There was nothing to do about him.
Failures come as death. Death comes as uninvited friend.
Life is welcome. A new life comes every day from the old and dead.
The young man’s photo is a winning entry in the international photo competition.
The old man on the river bank is the caption. The old man seen, taking care of his invisible cattle.