Talking to someone about all the hawkers who have disappeared from the scenes of the cities in the urbanisation of our world brought back a certain memory of something which used to be the muse of my little heart when I was of the size of a little bonsai. Here where internet has taken over my grasp of books, I could find utmost comfort of almost having everything just a touch away. Whether it be reading a book {I don’t mind reading in PDF(Le Petit Prince that I read twice, and the only book that I read twice, in PDF format only.)}, Working out(I have my own training app, bye-bye gym), running(Pokémon Go), or to say preparing for a competition etc., Everything could be found on the small touch screen, using Internet. I realised how distant I have become from my childhood memories that I depend on Facebook memes to tell me what 90s’ kids used to have and do.

The only thing that hasn’t changed in all these years is my home(pretty much) and that Chaukhat(lintel) and Paikariya(staircase) on which I used to sit when I was a child and wait for that little white light to appear in that dark street. Devoid of lights, as the power cuts were so much fun those times, and any human being, as small towns used to go silent by the sundown, the streets used to be so silent that one could hear the footsteps from the other lanes. I was afraid of the ghosts lurking and thieves wandering in the dark yet I would sit outside on the Chaukhat and wait for that melodious sound of the Ghanti(bell) of the Ghazak Bechne Wala(Hawker who used to sell my favourite sweet Ghazak) to fall upon my ears.

As I would get excited I would call out for my mom and ask her to give me money, I can’t recall the cost of one Ghazak, it was one or two Rupees I guess, and my siblings would come rushing. There would be this lamp in our drawing room; it was so enchanting to sit around it and play, study and talk with my family. We would see a little white light of a slightly varrying lamp in the street, it was not bright enough to make clear what was carrying it, and the sound of Ghanti would ring again and again and muse my heart. Sooner he would be in front of our home and we will buy Ghazak from him. There would be that long beam of timber on his shoulder and on the either sides of it there were hanging two platters, like a scale. On the upfront platter there used to be Ghazak and in the middle of it the lamp and on the back side of it he would keep his stock. We would buy the Ghazak from him and then he would be on his way to sell some more. We would see the light disappear on the bend, leaving the street dark again, and then the melody of Ghanti would seize slowly .

Being a kid I never thought of the hardships that Hawker might had to face while he was earning his bread, like out there might be thieves I was so afraid of, and he might come across ghosts in some darker street. And then there were seasons, in winters he must be freezing and in rains how hard it would have been to earn two times’ bread.

And then inverters happened and every street turned luminous even in the nights and I don’t know when in the gradual urbanisation that Hawker disappeared. It hit me today with a bittersweet muse that I never noticed when my sweet light disappeared from the street and now it is just a distant memory. I don’t know how many of them were out there but those days are gone now and saying this makes me feel older.

It is funny how things disappear and no one notices. And it is ironical how we never realised the pain of those hawkers when their means of bread was being lost in the urbanisation and now Ghazak is found nowhere and how that their little light of hope slowly vanished.

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2 thoughts on “Light of hope

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