I'm quite addicted to my evening walk. My regular route takes me along the lane that leads only to the temple.
One rainy evening long ago, I fell for this landscape, and, ever since, I have been a regular on this route.
Earlier, I used to joke that armed with a stick and a whistle, I could replace the beat police :) .... only, there is no such creature called 'beat police' here! And, I'm sure... at 6-6.30ish in the evening, he doesn't exist anywhere!
Of late, a change in another part of my beat has been catching my attention... the 200m stretch on either side of the temple. What was once a haven for weeds now looks like this -
No fancy plants here, only hardy, flowering shrubs, but, looked after well.
When I ran into the manager of the temple the other day, I complimented him on the nice garden. The manager said that it was thanks to the latest inmate of Jeevan Sandhya, the old age home run by the temple and pointed to an old, lanky man.
Oh! The 'sky gazer'! I see him every other day...often alone, sitting on the edge of the culvert and looking vacantly at the horizon....so, he was the magician!
The next time I passed by him, I complimented him for his good work. He smiled, namaste d as if to say 'Thank you' and said that he watered the plants twice a day and spent most of his time pulling out weeds, loosening soil,....
After that, we didn't know what to talk to each other. I carried on with my walk.
The man was on my mind till I reached home. He seemed to be in his late sixties.... that's about as old as my dad. His dress and his Kannada accent told me that he was from the Belgaum parts of K'taka. What could have displaced him by about 500-600 km from home? Could it be that someone who's looking after a garden has no one to look after him?
Well...whatever his story, I like the way he is dealing with the evening of his life...God bless him.