Young Wasim used to work as a local courier boy in the old parts of the city. Due to his physical state, he didn't want to be a burden on his family & so he worked. He came to a halt in front of the old building wondering on how the people living in the house will react to the news he had got. After climbing down from his tricycle he slowly walked in the house with his stick to deliver the news.
"Ashvasya Shirah", Head of a horse, she calls her wheelchair. A Brahmin priest Ramkrishna's sacred tongue always taught his daughter, in Sanskrit verses of Upanishads and Vedas, to act, before time runs out on its functional legs. And she used to catch every connotation, and blotted out from her mind the kaleidoscopic emotions permissible in her life, and meekly refused to accept her horoscope. Those wheels of knowledge ballasted her spindly legs with extended valour. Tourist Guide Sanskriti holds smooth ground underneath her. Besides, hitherto unknown, has raised a storm in the literary world with her first book.
“You were born to ruin my life!” “But Appa, nothing happened, why are you so angry?” “Oh-ho, so let’s wait for something to happen? Fellow can’t walk but he’ll speed! On that rickety thing because some stranger prompted him to!” “Appa, you know how good I’m on it.” “I do, but that cycle’s supposed to help you manage your handicap, it’s nothing to be proud of.” Outside, two men stood near the hand cycle. “His house Sir," said one. “Perfect," the other gentleman smiled. “I think our search for the new member for the Paralympic team ends here.”
"I am hungry, lady," the man on the wheelchair moaned. Dressed provocatively in a red saree, he had seen her standing alone. She stood in front of his home, happily munching away biscuits. Casually, she finished the packet and threw an empty wrapper at him. Before she could give out a cry of help, the impostor got up and dragged her inside his desolate home. He would have his fill tonight. Or so he thought, right before she slit his throat with a blade hidden inside her blouse. Like him, she had been hunting for quite a while.
They were her legs, her wings. They carried her to her dreams. To her school where the teachers always praised her neat handwriting.To the playground where she saw the kids play and the birds fly. To her friend Aslam's house where she got to eat sevaiyan even if it wasn't Eid. Every time the wheels rolled a smile spread across her face. Today the wheels wait for their Queen. Rani!
He kept staring at the wheels. This place was perfect, no one came there. If only John had accepted his request. Samuel was not that kind of person, but today he shocked himself. Samuel kept pulling his beard. Why oh why would John not agree to his request. They would have enjoyed the Rum together. Samuel gave one last look to the stone lying next to him, soaked. He clutched the Rs 500 note in his hands, stumbled on John's hands as he tried to run.
He woke up in the middle of the night and found himself completely soaked in sweat and shaking furiously. He came to his senses soon and thanked god that it was just a nightmare. In his dream he was patrolling with his CRPF unit and next moment he stepped on the land mine. He tried to get up but found a numbness in his feet. Suddenly he looked down his bedroom window and saw one brand new tricycle standing outside his door.
Not a day goes by when he doesn’t think of killing himself. Being dependent on others has clearly taken a toll. As a kid, things were different because innocence makes life bearable. That’s before hostile realities of adulthood hits you. He was hit hard. It wasn’t about his inability to walk. It had more to do with the aimlessness that others were walking around with. He could barely come to terms with this abject wastage of limbs. People think that one gets used to disabilities. People are mistaken. Unless he’s on his wheelchair believing he’s in control—of everything.
It was a hot Tuesday afternoon. The police were chasing him. They thought he was a phoney. He sure didn't look like one. He knew they wouldn't have listened. And the skill with which he was driving the hand cycle showed that he belonged in it. Suddenly he turned into an alley, parked his cycle in front of a house, got off the cycle. He crawled on and opened the door. He climbed up the pipe and into the balcony; his legs never looked stronger. And then he leapt into the opposite house. He was safe... For now…
The children! They ran all over me. They drew faces on my belly. Sometimes they hit me in anger, fists and arms banging against my back. They hid in corners, anxiously counting, waiting to be found. Their cries, their songs, their whispers, they grew up reading, playing, fighting and romancing. Yes, that too, I watched the youngest one scale the wall for a boyfriend. Then they left — one by one. Now it’s just me and Manto. He drags and I creak; just the two of us.
"When life decides to shatter you, it gives its best shot. And when YOU decide to give it back, let it always be your best one too," Ramaiah exclaimed. I smiled. 4 years back, when he lost both his legs in an accident, he had nothing. An old dying house and a family of 6 to feed. Today, he has grown beyond his own expectations. " I miss my bicycle though, and this place", he says, and slowly walks towards it in his new pair of plastic legs. " Can I take a picture ? " "Of course”.
Life was scary for the beggar with no limbs. Each day he lived with a desire to die. A victim of a vicious circle; he had no option but to serve his masters gaining sympathy and money from the society. A car accident relieved him today. His vehicle awaits for yet another master.
Lost his son to cancer. Lost his wife to the other man. Lost his legs to an accident. Lost his money to gambling. He crawled out of the doorway bidding a final adieu to the house.He sat on his tricycle; his new home, his source of livelihood and his only companion now.Anathema by people, hapless by life; now he will have a new identity.He will not die, he will not beg, rather he will do something meaningful. With an impassive gaze he rode off to his new journey. Life may show clemency this time.
It felt like a regular day...it was a struggle to exist..for him. To say good bye to his wife and kids as he pedalled away to begin his work… the difference was now he was pedalling with earphones, singing out some weird 80's song. Really 80's had the worst hindi songs of all time. The difference of music helped him.
Day after day, it became clear to me how she had craftily done every bit to dispense me off. She was a selfish woman and for her own guilty pleasures, she throttled the dove of my hopes, of a life I had dreamt of living. She clipped my wings to fit me into the matrimony cage, even before I could learn to fly, making me bear this handicapped existence for a lifetime. She - My mother.
His heart sank. His breathing momentarily became heavy. He cringed, as he saw his wheelchair, his loyal companion for 22 years. He suddenly reminisced, of the struggle, the toil. The ecstasy, of getting a brand new tricycle, briefly eclipsing the sorrow of loosing his limbs. He had tears of joy then. Today, his eyes swelled again. The thought of bidding goodbye to his beloved toy writhed him. He felt a shiver in his artificial limbs. He had a tear then. He had a tear now. Wondering if he was happy then or sad now. Life had taken a full circle.
"It stinks here, mom." Aryan sounded disgusted as he tugged at my hand, his eyes, pleading to go back. "But this is where I was born, love. This is your grandma's village. And this rickshaw you see, was the one we children used to crowd around everyday. And when my mamaji came home in it in the evening, we all would run helter-skelter, for he had a fiery temper." "And you know... - I turned around, but Aryan had already put his headphones and was enjoying his music. I suppressed my tears and smiled at him anyway.
A race car driver becomes the greatest driver in the world when he has his car’s computer wired into his central nervous system. He wins races after races, one championship after another. Nobody could ever beat him, until that fateful day while practicing he didn’t notice the gravel on the track and busted his tires. A sharp pain went up his spine and soon he realized, that he’s lost his both legs. Several years later he still races, but this time in a tricycle for physically handicapped, to a place near a traffic signal for begging for food.
Today while sitting in a verandah, I heard someone calling me, "Dear, where are you?" I rushed to my quarter's entrance and found something changed in my milieu I was appalled... My dark past came running to me. I saw the old cracked walls with fungus on them and the lane I grew up in. I again heard the spooky voice of the lady I hated and cried out… Suddenly I woke up from my petrifying dream…
To feel powerless, it's not enough to be an abandoned widow, an orphaned child left to fend for herself, a Hijra prostitute begging for a better job or your sympathy, a forgotten crippled soldier. To actually walk away as if none of us exist would feel powerless. You are in our prayers, we hear your ramblings over things we can't seem to see as anything more than petty, sometimes we laugh at you while you pass by ignoring us. But our real question is, unlike us, what will you hold on to, to move on?
It was a stormy night. The storm wasn't of snow or rain or wind. It was of hate. A hate fuelled 100 years ago and still burning in the hearts of men. Yes, just men. There are no differences yet there are differences. People were slaughtered on both sides. Blood was spilled all night. And my son just asked me one question the next morning, when we came out after the storm had subsided, “Who am I dad?”
39 years have passed. She was only 21 then, a pretty young woman with her head full of romance. He seemed much older, manly and rugged, sitting on that parapet, next to the parked rickshaw.She caught him staring at her, a whirlwind romance of a month and a half began, which ended the night her parents caught them kissing in one of the alleys. She never saw him again. Married into a town 200kms away. It’s 2014 now and Smita can still feel the wetness of his lips. The rickshaw still stands there. This is her homecoming.
“Imagine a place for your loneliness. Deserted, nostalgic, full of sorrows. Draw with your thoughts an unusual vehicle, which will be your anchor back to reality. Let the desperation overwhelm you. Then push the first door you see. Once inside, your peace depends on you.” She obeyed the hypnosis induced by her shrink. Almost suffocated with pain, she rushed into a purple room, where she found people who wanted her love. Tears of joy and happiness made her eyes shine for the first time. Using her mental editing program, she deleted the anchor. The Undo option was also uninstalled.
I was a dreamer, eager to fly away from the nest the moment I felt the vigour in my wings. And so I did abandoning the cocoon for the vibrance of the kaleidoscope. I leapt off my rickety old bicycle onto the swish wagon; unaware that I was stripping the colour from my mother’s life. I was to return to this tarnished & ignored dwelling I once called home, only to close the chapter for those eyes that over the years lost their shine but not the will to wait at the doorstep for my return.
Bro: "Dad is ill and admitted in Image hospital, come fast." Him: "Ok, I will be there in 20 minutes." Bro: "Bring some cash, we need it for medicines and fees." Him: “Ok… coming." Hastily he reached the hospital, parked the car and crossed the road for the ATM. His whole life and moments with dad flashed in front of his eyes. Amidst his thoughts he did not noticed the honking truck from the right.
It was a cold afternoon. The boy was sweating badly as he stood still at the edge of a platform. A differently-abled man sensed what was wrong. He moved his tricycle close to the boy. “Can you help me get on the train?” The boy didn’t react. The man went on talking, “Hope drives the world......…” The boy turned to say, “Hope is a disillusion. It takes courage to die. Leave me alone old man” “Any hope is better than misplaced courage,” the man smiled as the train pulled up behind the boy. Hope had won.
A decorated Indian Army officer, Retired Capt Chauhan still had the persona. Coming from a royal family only added to his demeanour; sharp moustache, intelligent eyes, short well-kept hair. Everything still defined him as a celebrated soldier; everything but his amputated leg and his present state. Today, the royal mansion is stripped to a common man’s dilapidated house. Rich colors have betrayed. Chandeliers & royal sofa have been sold. Expensive fleets of cars have vanished; replaced by a handicap rickshaw. This he rides every day to the market, to sell vegetables; to keep him alive.
Under this harsh sun, I used to see my father ride around his rickshaw, work all day and earn peanuts. "Raju come inside beta" is all I can hear, my mother being her worried self. I feel nostalgic every time I think of this busy street, my Sundays were spent here laying on my back, relishing ice gola and watching people walk by. Now I live in a city, rich enough to buy an island but I still cant afford happiness.
The wheels of time rolled on to set the chariot of life in motion.The rest is history...of the birth of a great civilisation called humanity. Unfortunately, it has not been able to shed the darkness of the womb that had borne it for so long. Now, enlightenment waits to embrace it.All that is required is for wisdom to drive it towards its destination.History can't wait to be rewritten.High time!
Since a small boy to turning to adult, Farookh has always seen his dad with zeal to fly, ever smiling and helping others all the time, till last year when he lost his limbs to a factory accident, while saving a labourer. He read his wish to go out and see the world again with his eyes…and Farookh has read that word to word. He was a happy boy today as he was bringing home, his freedom, his freedom on wheels.
Irfan still remembered the day he first visited this house to deliver a letter. He knocked, she came out and all he remembers after that are those big brown eyes and that aroma. He fell in love and went. A month later,he was no more an Indian. 67 years have passed since then. He requested his cancer to wait till he reaches Amritsar. He wanted to breathe her as his last. As the cycle stopped, he smiled, closed his eyes and cherished her only memory. Breathed her in. Up there, they finally met.
Mini stood in front of the House, the fallen remnant of a glorious time. She vividly remembered. Hide and seek with brother. Running along the corridors, from mother's clutches. The evening chaat sitting on steps, the rattling of doors after bedtime horror stories by Grandma. All felt a decade ago. Fifteen long years in States. The uncle on chair-on-wheels offering toffees, was no more. The wheelchair, now a lone witness. A little girl tugged. "Your house, Mom?" Mini smiled. Her eyes glazed. Yearning for Ma, she heard her whisper in the air. Welcome back Home, Mini.
Phatik and I bonded instantly. He was my master, kept me in form, but we were buddies. Cycle rickshaws were then a familiar sight. We loved ferrying people around. It all ended so suddenly. One night, he parked me in the quadrangle and never returned. People said he became rich overnight. Now it is desolate. I’m broken, lonely. A dignified death is all I crave for. Can I donate my parts for new age vehicles? But who has time for that? When the building is razed, I will be crushed under a bulldozer. My death wish will remain unfulfilled.
Two birds, one sky... Forgetting world, they fly... They didn't have to meet, they did.. Now knowing cast and religion of fleet.. He flied on his bicycle to meet his heart.. Parking it two cross ahead to avoid ugly path.. It was another day in his life.. Not guessing the further strife.. Flew on iron wheels, dreaming those eyes.. On the way were cunning spies, bringing his last sighs.. Her own bhaijans helped in slaughter.. Bringing end to their unending laughter.. But her soulmate is, alive in her head.. And his bicycle, waiting for him two cross ahead.
We had heard about this town, but never thought it would be so silent. As we moved on exploring the town there was this one street which felt strange. There was an abandoned cycle and the door of houses were open. A chill raised through our spines, how and where had the whole town disappeared. Next moment we all see a high beam light and one by one everyone starts disappearing…
“Then why do you buy stuff only from him? He charges too much; still you wait for his three-wheeler-Ferrari. Is it because he is handicapped?” She did not respond. “Sympathy?” I Provoked. “No! Empathy and he is superior to me.” “That legless-guy?” I sniggered. “I can’t step outside without your permission. I don’t make friends without you knowing. I hush up and smile when you say so. I don’t even get a shoulder in pain. I’m just another handicapped one, an invisible one!” First time she broke silence and her restrained words left me tongue-tied.
[Elation] “Koel will finally come after so long. She has just not kept in touch once she reached US, other than the monthly moneygrams.” [Penitent] Poor thing must be working hard for her father’s upkeep. I could've worked to keep myself afloat; it’d have put less burdens. But on top of my handicap physically my illiteracy is another handicap she has to deal with. [Pride] How I wish my good for nothing in-laws could see how good she has done for herself. Wish Meena was alive to see her daughter; [Truth] Ummm.. Where was she working??? Ahh! Yes… H-U-S-T-L-E-R
He was brave, brave enough to fight for our country and is still brave, brave enough to fight for his livelihood. Our country a place where soldiers are easily forgotten. Ramesh, a Sepoy, lost his legs in the Indo-China war and all he got in return was a bravery certificate, a wheelchair, unemployment and poverty. Everyday he would return to the shabby doors hanging to the tempered walls with peeling paint and some thrown wrappers to accompany them. Calmly, he picks them and says "I still love my country". Swach Bharat- a new fight…
They found him slumped over the handlebars of the cycle rickshaw. For over forty years, Ramkishen ferried passengers through the narrow streets of old Meerut. He was fifty-six years old when he breathed his last. Arrak and tuberculosis were the two parasites that refused to leave him. His wife Janki knew about the one, but not the other. There was not enough money for medication, only for his children’s education. Now Janki would never know about the nearly fifty thousand Rupees he had saved and hidden under the lose tiles below their bed. Such a cruel world.
That picture, the centre one – don’t you have the same one on your desk in every office?” Jay asked, standing near the photos on the mantelpiece. “Yup”, Rohit replied, “It is a reminder, an anchor, a totem” “Reminds you of what?” “Hope...Faith...Determination...Miracles. I guess. The person who used that and lived there went on to become quite successful against all those obvious odds” “Anybody we know?” “Me” Rohit smiled as he motored from the bar counter towards Jay on his computerized wheel-chair, “I took that picture the day I finally left that house, that cycle & that life behind!"
My legs winged me home. "He" was visiting us today to propose to me. Exchanging our deepest thoughts on ichat for two years , we knew we were one heartbeat plus. My breath stopped when I saw the vehicle parked at my door. He did not tell me, why? I ran in, face flushed. The chair backing me turned around. I closed my eyes, but I kept calm. I love him, I will endure. "Meet Sajjid's father," my dad beamed. "He has come with a formal proposal." "And your guy is waiting in the garden for you."
The golden dusk radiated the old neighborhood. The walls breathed on opening of rustic doors and windows. Little children, around 10-15, were waiting outside and so was Gurbaan. The empty wheel chair was out there in the open, but Shaheen wasn’t in it. Slowly the steps were heard. Impatience and smiles filled the air. She stumbled, but came out with supporting crutches that her students made for her. Gurbaan helped to refine it. It took three months for her to get the grip of walking without support. It was free and liberating for her, now no more sitting.
His tricycle was parked outside his run down room in the corner of the old city. The crumpled bag of chips meant the children had already left after being regaled by Aathif Chacha’s fantastic stories. After a long day’s tiring work, the old man looked forward to the visit of the neighborhood kids. Apart from buying them sweets and goodies what he loved was that they loved being with him. For that one hour he would forget his wretched existence as a handicapped old man begging daily for alms outside the mosque and feel rich.
The photographer clicked several pictures of Nabeel, including the one at the traffic light with sweat beads intact on his forehead, sitting uncomfortably on his wheelchair cycle. He even followed Nabeel to the grimy lane that had been home to him for ages now. All Nabeel could manage was a clueless expression. Few months later, the most prestigious magazine of photography had a picture on its cover page with a headline that read - "Winner of the Photography Contest is the photograph called 'The struggles of human'", which had Nabeel sitting on the wheelchair cycle with a clueless expression.
A little bird chirruped I thought it was you. The cycle by the door, I looked at you. Clouds gathered over our heads A drop fell on my hand. I looked at the sky… Words were flying around us, Them I could not catch. You stared at me And I stared back. Silence stepped in To convey the perfect words… We just smiled! Together.
"You have 2 months to live, I'm sorry" said the doctor. "Thank you" he said. It’s time for redemption he thought. He knew the address; he walked past that street every day. He saw the same scenes, old crumbled stained walls, doors broken and a tricycle. He didn't have the courage. He made up his mind this was to be the day; he walked slowly toward his sin. He stopped, in front of the tricycle, memories trickled of that night. Sweat broke out, body shaking; he held the cycle and sat down. "I'm sorry" he muttered, nothing else coming out.
Mr Vincent was a famous physicist and respected citizen.He showed his presence in every walk of life.After all, its what his mother taught him and now his passion ,to conquer a life which offered him nothing but disability.He lived life candidly, but in a solitude;no one knew ,why?He was only in his early fourties when, his neighbours found him dead.Yes it was suicide.He left only a single line note-"The sadness will last forever."May be,in a passion to conquer a life he lost his chance to live it,may be.
Abid is a small village 30 Kms away from Gilgit, PoK and sparsely populated. The town was a known location for terrorist camps and their training grounds. But for the past 1 year, there were rumors of an infiltrator who has been passing critical information back to the “enemies”. The local Army chief, Adnan’s prime suspects, were Kabir the barber and Asif the cobbler. Then one day somebody noticed Khan Baba’s empty wheel chair and how nobody saw him for past 2 days. Everything became clear to Adnan. Hindustan should not be spared for this, was his recurring thought.
Captain Ajit Khare, who’d left the army when he lost his legs in Kargil, was here. He’d shown the bunch of youngsters, ‘The scent of a woman’. And explained the meaning of the lines spoken by Lt Col. Frank Slade in the film: “... And I have seen. Boys like these, younger than these. Their arms torn out, their legs ripped off. But there is nothing like the sight of an amputated spirit.There's no prosthetic for that.” After he left they’d hold their heads a little higher. Next Sunday he would be at another home for the handicapped.
Their father died leaving behind nothing but three wheeled cycle. Suresh and Ramesh worked day and night to make ends meet. It was end of month and landlord had come asking for rent. Suresh had no money as he hardly earned few hundreds, as daily wages. Like every month, Ramesh paid the landlord and still had some savings left. Ramesh looked at his three wheeled cycle from the window, which he used daily. He had survived the month; the act of being paralysed had got him his daily alms. Such were the ironies of life.
As she took her final steps out of the home, the oldest house of the street grew a little more older. As the tears rolled down her red cheeks, everyone present there felt the lump in the throat. The moments that she had spent in that street emerged around her and the street got shrunk a little as if it didn't want to let her go. A new life was waiting for her. He held her hand firmly and said," I'm with you and I'll always be with you". And she smiled. Because she was home.
"I am not a man who believes in keeping his feet on the ground. I move around on three wheels. Haven't you seen me? I am the construction worker who slipped off the wooden plank when that high-rise was rising. And the famous pavement dweller who occupied the print and television space because a swanky car preferred the pavement to the road. I am also the man carrying that childhood memory of his legs being hacked off before being trained to beg. Don't you know me? "
“That’s where I grew up. Tiny, adjacent, brick-built rooms. That road was our playground, our stage, our bed, everything. Now your grandpa lives there.”“What’s that?”“That’s his tricycle. It’s especially for people like him who can’t walk. He uses it to roam outside.”“But how does he manage to come out of the house?”“There are servants, beta, to help him.”“Dad, remember you hurt your leg last month? Declining a medical assistant, Mom told me to help you to walk with your wheelchair because it’s my duty. Don’t you..”Those unsaid words froze the NRI father.
I think it's time. Enough screw up has happened already. Yeah man! I have been working round the clock. Same here bro! I've got tons to do as well. My fellas are getting all noisy and spooky; so much for being a destroyer. Jeez! You think being an operator is easy? But where is he? Oh! That four face one is busy riding the tricycle, balancing his acts while you and I slog here. What the heavens! Has he forgotten that we three are the trinity, that we make our daily wages by carrying the burden of the universe?
Nobody came out through that door with limbs intact.Unwanted children picked off streets, maimed and tortured. Their souls numbed to do anything.Begging was liberation. It meant being one with the world, away from being in darkness with a devil for whom the bodies of children were canvases for brutal paintings of lust.Abdul had gone through that for 25 years. Days that showed him the world, nights that made him wish for heaven.Today he had come to forgive his Master for the sins and redeem him forever.His cycle bore mute witness to the brutal act