The Morning Walk
by Anurima Das
(Kolkata, West Bengal, India)
Though I cannot take the full credit of what I will be writing+, +the incident is still alive within me and still makes me feel uncomfortable about the morning as well.
We were in Benaras for a holiday and we all had decided to wake up quite early the next day after we had reached. The idea was to explore the place and to get to feel the early morning as well. Morning, was of course the morning we normally miss while in the city and in between our schedule.
Mom was up at the usual time and was the first one to wake up like always. We all quite reluctantly forced our eyes open and decided to take the walk along the river banks and to wait there to pray with the first rays of the day. We literally woke up at dawn and wore our clothes to gear up for the walk.
We were all excited to move out and finally we all went out together with the morning breeze touching our faces blissfully.
Walking across the alleys we finally came to the river bank and began descending the stairs to walk for some time. The darkness was slowly vanishing with the sunlight slowly making its ascent and we could hear the crows and birds singing to a new day. Dad was the first one to feel the urge of drinking a hot cup of tea, mom followed in and we also wanted to drink a cup too to feel that warmth from within.
As we looked around to see if we can't find a vendor or a tea stall, we spotted a man with a tea kettle selling tea. To our great relief he came to us and we bought four cups of tea from him. However, a problem occurred as dad was going to pay. Searching in his pockets he got only a hundred rupee note, that the man refused to take as he did not have the necessary change.
There was no place nearby from where we could have gotten the change. The old man just smiled and ordered us to go for a walk after we had finished drinking the tea, he told us to come back and pay him. We thought that was a good idea as by the time we return it will be a proper day and there will be people around the ghat.
We returned after almost an hour to find the place in a perfect mayhem, like every day. The stillness and silence of the dawn had suddenly vanished. We came back to the place from where we had met the man and had tea earlier in the day. He was not to be seen anywhere and another tea- man was standing just beside the place this old man was standing.
After looking here and there for some time, we inquired from this man about the other man by telling him everything. He was shocked and scared to hear what we were saying, suddenly he started drinking lots of water and told us that the man we drank tea from had died at least ten years back and he used to sell tea in that place where we met him.
He was excellent in his trade and at times he comes back at dawn to sell the tourists his trademark tea.
A chill ran down my spine and almost immediately I could hear the old man's voice from within.