The fuschia pink turban sat loud and dignified, atop the elderly farmer’s head.
I stepped out of the grocer’s brightly lit store, stocked with newfangled products, after exchanging a few words in Hindi with the proprietor while his wife mumbled Gujarati in the background. Outside the threshold of the store, he stood.
He looked about 70 years old. A white, five o’clock stubble graced his chin; I imagine his barber-cum-shaver would have groomed him a day or so ago, sitting out in the open courtyard, under the winter morning sun. His spectacles were thick, his eyes looking smaller behind the lenses. The frame was as functional as it gets, no design elements anywhere. Sturdy, it sat humbly on his prominent nose, doing its job to help him see. His attire was typical of a village elder- a thin, cotton dhoti, with a long, full-sleeved shirt, with three buttons, over it. The clothes had dust streaks, reflective of the rural practice to wash clothes sparingly, since water was a scarcity in this part of the state. The black, hard, worn,slip-in shoes completed the tradition.
In one glance, he transported me a few decades back in time and out of a bustling mini-metro and into my grandparents’ home, with its own big courtyard in the center, buffaloes chewing cud, and sunlight streaming through the neem trees. Life was simpler, people behaved with humanity.
The loud horn of a lorry jolted me back. I looked at him, and felt a twinge of sadness. All that he embodied would be gone soon.