Keeper Of The Logs
"Do you sell logs?"
"No, but I can give you some if you need them."
It was my third day in the holiday home. The journey was tiresome but worth it. Fresh air, luxurious greenery and the silence of the woods...Dada has always dreamt of living in a country side like this. But my dreams were huge. He is the one who taught me to dream and now, I have a Wikipedia page about me. What else does a hardworking boy from a middle class family need?
The riverside cottage was something I demanded for. The river was giving me reflections of an upside down world. The milk woman and her kid, the school students without shoes, the dwarf man and his tall wife. In the midst of this, I have noticed this old man pedaling at least five times a day. He reminded me of Dada, may be because of the rusty bicycle he was using. Dada used his bicycle until he moved to a nursing home. Starting stage of Alzheimer's and he was adamant like a kid. Not that we had maids around, but he was disturbing my perfectly balanced corporate behavior. But, this man nearly seventy years old is still struggling to make his living.
The old man makes his first journey at seven in the morning and brings back a pile of logs on his return journey. "Keeper of the logs", that's what I call him.
"Why do you need all these logs? Do you have a big family? People don't use logs for cooking nowadays. You can find a burger shop even in villages.
"I live alone son." He was breathless and the Sun has given him dark shades all over. His wrinkles had tales to tell. I could see his bare foot covered in mud had hardly seen any footwear.
"Ooh...Why do you need so many logs then?" May be he is building something for his cattle or he is saving for the winter. I just wanted someone to talk to.
He smiled and said, "For my funeral."
"Excuse me...!" Did I hear that wrong?
"My children may find it difficult to collect logs when they come over to pay me my last rites. I am just saving their time."
He pedaled away and stopped. "I really hope they can make it at least when I am gone."
Numbness swept me for a moment. I took my cell phone and dialed Spandana Nursing Home.
"Could you connect me to Mr. Ram Narayan?"
The once powerful voice was feeble now. Dada, the man behind my dreams spoke.
"Son, how are you?"
"Dada, please can I have you back?"
He was silent. But his silence was so loud. The noise of his silence was stabbing me.
"I will ask the maid to pack your bags."
I could hear deep breaths.
"They've been packed since the day you left me here."
He hung the phone. The keeper of the logs was gone. The waves tickled my feet and I felt happy.