I used my eyebrows to greet him. That was the proximity of our relationship. The guy, who weighed a lot. He was not that important to analyze even. He sat in the pharmacy and went back home. This to and fro motion defined his life. He was alone and he ate. We all stereotyped him. Maybe he deserved it for his lack of attempts to get fit and be valid to the world. I was fascinated with him always. Does his kind get true love? Does his kind feel? We had a professional relation of conduct. I used to buy medicine from his shop whenever I visited my paternal home. My grandmother was a patient of stretched urban existence and hence needed drugs.
Stretched Urban Existence – The average age of mortality increase, coupled with the lack of any valid purpose fostered with Dementia and other ailments. Delaying your property investments.
I had currency and a scribbled page by an educated human (prescription) on my hands every time I met him. The currency wasted on an exiguous tablet which won’t matter after it is diluted in the stomach. The eye brow courtesy stood because this guy was related to us. Their family shared the same neighborhood with my paternal side for ages and he was the guy I connected the least. He was unimportant, unfunny and unexplored. He was like the tablet inundated. The guy died. Strangely at a faraway place from our paternal home. The epicenter of the country. The adults with bad handwriting could not save him. They could not play god with weight I guess. In short the guy had died from fat disease.
Why is this slob important enough to be featured in a story? Probably he isn’t. No one ever will be. Not even the great doctors or the popular kid on the block. Not even Neil Armstrong. Not even her. On a cosmic level you don’t matter, someone had told me. I had visited his cremation place and the first visuals I saw was a dead meat wrapped under a white sheet. (I went because I thought an empty funeral would have been devastating. My self-pity turned into guilt eventually.) Until then and always I valued him as mere flesh. Mere fat to be precise. I saw the wife and she was in a ventilation of mere existence without the monetary ICU expense. Just plain breathing and pain. She struggled though she carried the ritual; presumably done by the son. In his case there was lack of. The sad doctor, evidently the fat guy’s sister wept. Probably after the failed operation the sister looked into the mirror and said, “Sorry we couldn’t save him” to herself. She had been smitten by Karma for this poor last line every doctor with an unsuccessful attempt says. They have no value in a cremation ground, I have learnt.
The wife changed my perspective. He mattered to her. He mattered to a lot of people. A strange irony of life is some people matter only in cremation ground. That day a pharmacy salesman mattered over a doctor, history had been witnessed. The atmosphere of popular empathy was unexpected. This mediocre guy too had what many people never get. He had a family; love and was loved. He mattered. He had everything. The pre requisites for a happy death? Probably he even sang in the bathroom shower. In the last rites he had to be carried in the raft and there was a short of hand; he required about 10 people to carry.
I offered my malnourished hand to carry him. For the first time apart from currency and eyebrows I had offered my hand and had the greatest of guilt.
He didn’t weigh much…